Thank you, our members, for coming together for a year of continued growth and increased community impact. Last year was a landmark year for Unitus as we were fortunate to reach $1.0 billion in assets. Further, former CEO Pat Smith retired and I received the honor of joining this great Credit Union as President and CEO. This year, our milestone 80th anniversary year, will be a special year filled with more member service improvements, community based initiatives and unwavering dedication to our membership.
We were thrilled to introduce a number of member service improvements in 2016. One of our most exciting advancements was the adoption of our chip card safety technology. Each day more of our members receive the new chip cards to help keep their sensitive information and their families more secure. In October we opened a new branch in the North Williams district of Portland, Oregon, enabling us to better serve the large number of members in the North Portland area, many of whom are Heritage members. We are excited to join this growing community flourishing with new people and businesses. What’s more, we extended our redeemable rewards in 2016. Now in addition to cash back, gift cards, travel and all the rest, you can redeem your rewards points for concert, theater and sporting events! And through our Ampre Online program, you can earn more rewards per dollar at top retailers. Finally, in December we were delighted to launch our streamlined No Appraisal Mortgage Loan program. To help members who have lost their chance to close on their dream home due to long waits for an appraisal, we now allow qualified members to “skip” the appraisal step and get to the close more quickly. If you are looking to purchase or refinance, this simpler, faster process will help you succeed!
Community involvement is one of our founding principles, embodied from the top of the organization through to our employees across every department. We were delighted last year to launch our Dream Come True initiative in partnership with the Oregon State Beavers football program. This program gave seven ailing young kids the opportunity to meet the OSU football team and coaching staff, join their family in luxury box seats at Reser Stadium, receive a football signed by the Beavers players and coaches, and take home a personalized OSU game jersey. Last but not least, each young child was honored with their family in midfield during halftime! Through our partnerships with various charitable organizations such as Adopt A Class, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Good Neighbor Center and more, we are proud to say that our employees collectively contributed a significant 1,324 volunteer hours throughout the year.
Last year brought new upgrades to our mobile offerings, in both savings and service. Our location-based discounts app Porter’s Picks launched in September last year, offering our members exclusive discounts at local businesses when they use their Unitus Visa Credit Card or Debit Card. If you haven’t explored the perks, download the app (available on iPhone and Android) and try it today. Members who use our Unitus Mobile Banking App noticed a significant change in December with our mobile 3.0 upgrade. The new app has a newer, cleaner interface, enhanced security features and more banking options to make it easier for you to manage your finances wherever you are.
Looking ahead, I am excited to serve you, our members, and grateful for the opportunity to extend our rich history of community support and member service throughout 2017. The talented team here at Unitus has already launched our streamlined new website, which you may have seen last week. Members will be happy to know that we will be providing Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other new tokenized payment technologies this year. We are also going to launch a new, streamlined member application system. This will make it much easier for members to apply for loans, and much easier for friends and family to become Unitus members. Our ATM software will see an upgrade, and our members can look out for a new Unitus branch to open later this year. This is particularly exciting as each new branch allows us to be closer to our members and serve more members in person.
Thank you for being Unitus members. When I say that, what I really mean is this. Thank you for supporting each other, for contributing to our communities and for sharing in our mission to be the people helping people every day. We cannot wait to grow with you this year.