The credit union was founded on the principle of People Helping People. This notion is at the root of every decision we make as a financial institution and 2015 saw no difference. Thank you for trusting in Unitus to improve your financial well-being for another year. Before zooming into 2016, we wanted to share with you some of the innovations and achievements we were able to create together last year.
Member Service Improvements
One of our most exciting member service innovations in 2015 was the introduction of our Member Advocate position in the branches. Designed to reduce waiting time and help cultivate long-term relationships with our members, branch staff were trained to expand their product knowledge and broaden their capabilities in order to be better prepared for any member need. We anticipate that this will create an easier, faster, more efficient in-branch experience for members.
Other member service improvements included:
- Launched Equity Line Plus, a more flexible home equity line of credit allowing members to take out fixed term loans for big projects and still have revolving cash when they need it for unexpected expenses
- Launched Instant Issue allowing members to replace a lost, stolen or damaged credit/debit card instantly in the branch
- Numerous cash and prize giveaways leading more members to the best card on the market, our Platinum Rewards Visa
Thanks to our improvements in member service, we enjoyed a record year financially in 2015. We ended the year with a 28% improvement in Funded Loan Volume over 2014. Our mortgage loans increased 156% from the prior year. We processed more than 16 million card transactions for members, a 7% increase from 2014, thanks in large part to the growing strength of our Platinum Rewards Visa. Thank you for placing your trust in us and enabling us to innovate new ways to make you and your family happier. If you would like to learn more about our financial success throughout 2015, please attend our Annual Meeting this year on March 15!
Awards and Recognition
We were honored to receive a number of awards throughout the year, reinforcing our belief that good things come when people help people. Among the most impactful were the NWCUA Lifetime Achievement Award received by our CEO Pat Smith for her tireless dedication to the credit union movement. After decades of chairing government affairs committees, serving on statewide business organizations and mentoring executives at smaller credit unions, Pat was thrilled to receive the award and quick to acknowledge the role her leadership team and colleagues have played in her success.
Other awards received included:
- 2015 CUNA Technology Council Excellence Award in Sales Management/Marketing Automation
- NWCUA Credit Union Commitment to Board Excellence Award for our Board of Directors
- CUES Hall of Fame Induction for Pat Smith
- One of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies
- Top 15 Residential Mortgage Lending Firms
- Top 15 in Corporate Philanthropy
- Top 25 in Commercial Lending
Giving Back to Our Communities
At Unitus, our true measure of success will always be how well we honored our commitment to serve the member and our communities where they live. This core culture has driven our 78-year track record of giving back through partnerships with various nonprofits in Oregon and Washington.
In 2015, Unitus donated nearly $225,000 to our core community partners through our signature giving programs, sponsorships and branch fundraisers. Proceeds from our annual Wine on the Willamette benefited both Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the Knight Cancer Challenge, helping OHSU realize early detection of lethal cancers. Employees made a big impact, donating a significant 1,300-plus volunteer hours in 2015. They contributed in different ways, some teaching financial education courses, serving on community boards and leading mentorship programs, while others built and repaired new homes and shelters, served meals to the homeless, and provided backpacks full of supplies to students in need. We thank our employees for exemplifying our core value: everybody wins when people help people.
We were proud to also create waves of change in our statewide community in 2015. Gayle Evans, our VP of Human Resources, attended the 2015 Oregon Leadership Summit in December, joining other Oregon business leaders to help shape public policies that improve Oregon’s economy and quality of life. As a panelist at the event she spoke about the state’s health reform efforts, emphasizing the need to further reduce costs and address social determinants of health including education and poverty. Further, in July 2015 Gayle was appointed by the governor to hold a multi-year position as an “Advocate for Patient Safety” on Oregon’s Task Force for Resolution of Adverse Healthcare Incidents. She adds this to her existing roles as a board member of Oregon’s Patient Safety Commission and Chair of the Oregon Business Association’s Health Policy Committee.
Posted by: Jacob Schnee
About the author: Jacob joined Unitus Community Credit Union as Marketing Specialist in 2015 after escaping his native New York City and spending a one-year layover in Ann Arbor, MI. His life’s work is to remove the cheese from marketing and advertising and he is thrilled that Unitus shares his passion. When not creating content for conscious consumption he is viewing, playing, or reading and writing about basketball. He has also been known to enjoy meditation, yoga, poetry, hiking, cooking and doing uncanny impressions.