On behalf of all of us at SF Fire Credit Union, I hope everyone had a joyful holiday season with families, friends, and loved ones. I'm also thankful for your generous support of our efforts to raise funds for the SF Firefighters Toy Program. This year's donations total just under $15,000 and benefit a program which touches the lives of over 40,000 children every year.
2013 was a good year for the credit union and members alike. The recovery of our local economy is in motion, with significant improvements in the jobs and real estate markets. The credit union saw continued profitability, which is important in that it's how we add to our capital reserves thus ensuring we'll be here to serve members well into the future.
We're always striving to meet your needs, be it with products and services or the ease of accessing accounts. For members who are (or aspire to be) entrepreneurs, SF Fire Credit Union is now an SBA (Small Business Administration) authorized lender who can help you succeed as a small business owner. And when it comes to ease of doing business with us, I encourage all members to look forward to our new online banking and website - both of which will be launching in the coming months.
There were a number of significant events in the past year. We opened a new branch at Mint Plaza, just feet from where the credit union first opened at 17 Engine on Jessie Street back in 1951. Members with busy schedules now have the ability to make branch appointments so they can take care of business when it's most convenient for them. Knowing that many of you are entrepreneurs, we expanded our business services program to offer SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. With education important to our membership we expanded student loans to include kindergarten through high school, and have increased our Arthur F. McIntyre High School and College Scholarships from $1,000 to $2,500. (See back cover for more info.)
In regards to what's in store for 2014, rest assured that we'll continue working hard to improve the ease of doing business along with the exceptional level of personal service you have come to expect and deserve.
2014 will also see renewed attacks by the banking lobby, with them aggressively lobbying Congress to subject not-for-profit credit unions to for-profit corporate taxation. Many of you heeded our call this past fall, sending over 5,200 messages to elected officials asking them not to tax your credit union. We were humbled by your response, and would greatly appreciate your standing with again us on this issue in 2014 should we need your help. In the meantime, thank you for your continued loyalty and support. I always welcome your questions and comments, and invite you to contact me directly through our website ("Ask Darren"), Twitter (@SFFireCU) or by mail at our California Street address.
Darren Herrmann, President & CEO