Message from the President and CEO
|Darren Herrmann, President and CEO|
Welcome to the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Members of SF Fire Credit Union. I appreciate having this opportunity to review the significant events of the past year, and share some thoughts regarding what’s in store for us in 2013.
2012 was a very good year for SF Fire Credit Union, certainly in regards to our financial performance. While credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, being profitable is necessary for long term viability as well as having the ability to offer a full range of products and services to meet members’ needs. I’m pleased to report that our operating profit for 2012 was $7.3 million, more than double the $3.4 million of 2011. This brings SF Fire Credit Union’s total reserves up to $61.6 million, which has us well capitalized and assures we’ll be here to serve our members for many years to come.
We’re always striving to improve the level of service we provide, and that continued in 2012. Solar energy and bicycle loans became available for our more energy-conscious members, and small business owners gained access to a full suite of business products and loans. There were enhancements made at our branches, from new state-of-the-art ATMs at California Street and Stonestown to the extension of weekday hours to 6:00 p.m. at all locations. Our merger with Bay Media Federal Credit Union was another significant event of the year, happening at the end of 2012. As a small newspaper employee credit union, they faced challenges held by many credit unions of a similar size. An increasingly complicated regulatory environment, as well as a changing industry led them to seek a merger with SF Fire Credit Union. This decision by Bay Media’s Board of Directors ensured long term access to credit union services for their members, while at the same time providing our members with the convenience of their Mint Plaza branch which we acquired through the merger.
As we enter 2013, I do so with optimism for what the year will have in store for us. The economic recovery seems to be gaining momentum, with employment and housing indicators on the rise. The rate environment is likely to stay low, which certainly impacts our members. Those who will have borrowing needs in the coming year (such as purchasing a first home or refinancing an existing mortgage) will benefit from continued low rates. However, retired members dependent on dividends from savings are likely to be discouraged. To those needing a higher rate of return, I can’t predict when we’ll see deposit rates rise. However, I do encourage them to utilize the services offered by our financial advisors, who can assist members in assessing their financial goals and understanding all the available investment options to achieve them.
This year will see continued efforts to make accessing your accounts easier, with the launch of a new online banking platform. We’ll also enhance the level of service provided in our branches, by giving members the ability to make appointments to do business with us. Whether meeting with a financial advisor, seeing a mortgage specialist, applying for a consumer loan, opening a new account, or getting a document notarized, we want it to be at a time that’s most convenient for you.
In closing, know that all of us at SF Fire Credit Union consider it an honor and privilege to be your financial institution of choice. We appreciate your loyalty and continued support.
President and Chief Executive Officer