Fall has arrived, and the change in season seems the appropriate time for an update on the state of the credit union. It was a busy summer, with some new products you should all be aware of, as well as changes to our Mint Plaza branch. I want to keep you apprised of what's coming soon, and remind everybody of the continued need to stay engaged in the fight to protect credit unions and their ability to serve members.
The financial well-being of the credit union has always been relevant to members, who have shown particular interest in how we've fared during the troubled economic times of the last few years. Rest assured that we remain prosperous, growing capital reserves and thus ensuring a long future of serving you and your families. The local economy and housing market are continuing to improve, which benefits our members and the credit union alike. As property values rise many now have the opportunity to secure low interest rate home equity lines of credit to complete postponed home repairs and improvements, or in some cases consolidate their higher interest rate consumer and credit card debt.
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.
The remodel of our Mint Plaza location was completed this summer, which has garnered positive feedback from those of you who live or work downtown. It also serves as the new home to our Call Center, which is located above the branch and is able to accommodate a growing staff dedicated to assisting you 365 days a year. Work will soon commence on the second floor at California Street, which is being remodeled to better utilize the space for our employees. We're going to make every effort possible to minimize the impact this construction will have on members visiting the branch, and appreciate your patience while renovations are being done.
SF Fire Credit Union is fortunate to have members who stay informed regarding whatever challenges we might be facing or endeavors we're embarking upon, and get involved. Whether it's our annual holiday season fund raising drive for the SF Firefighters Toy Program or taking a stand to protect credit unions, we are very thankful for your support. The banking industry continues to aggressively lobby Congress to subject not-for-profit credit unions to corporate taxation, the impact of which would be tough on us. SF Fire Credit Union members have sent over 5,200 messages to their elected officials asking them to not tax their credit union. It has been a powerful message, and we're humbled by your response to our call for help. If you'd like to lend your voice to stand with credit unions in this fight, an easy way to do so is through CONNECT FOR THE CAUSE (www.connectforthecause.org). It's a simple, free, web-based network which allows you to quickly send your legislators a message.
On behalf of all of us at SF Fire Credit Union, I thank you for your continued loyalty. As always, I welcome your questions and comments. Feel free to contact me directly through Ask Darren on our website's mainpage, Twitter (@SFFireCU) or by mail at our California Street address.
Darren Herrmann, President & CEO