Letter from the Chairman and President
Together, we are part of something extraordinary
Since I began my time at the Credit Union two years ago as your President/CEO, I've had the privilege of speaking personally with many of you. You've consistently told me that you consider SchoolsFirst FCU your family, and we couldn't agree more. Our family of 12 founding Members has grown a great deal since 1934, but we've never forgotten our guiding principle of people helping people, and the belief that together with our unwavering commitment to each other we will continue to be successful.Read Letter »
Our rich legacy serves as a building block, an integral part of who we have become, and will help guide us as we continue to respond to your changing needs.
Together we have achieved remarkable results: In 2015 we added more than 68,000 new Members to become more than 672,000 Members strong, and surpassed $11 billion in assets, with a capital ratio of 11.5%.
Thanks to your enthusiastic support, we were honored to be named the "Best Credit Union" in Orange County for the fourth year in a row by OC Weekly, and according to CNBC, a Consumer Reports survey rated us number one among credit unions for service.
The financial strength we have been able to achieve because of your loyalty and participation in our products and services enables us to provide Members with higher savings rates and low or no fees. In 2015, SchoolsFirst FCU provided more than $99 million in direct financial benefits to its Membership, according to a report by the Credit Union National Association, when compared to other California financial institutions. That translates into an average annual savings of $290 per Member household.
We are also committed to giving back—to school employees, schools, local organizations and the communities we serve. In 2015, we gave $2.4 million in charitable donations to school and local organizations and the credit union movement.
Your Voice, Your Credit Union
Your feedback is highly valued, and helps us focus on the things that matter to you most, including convenience, security for your accounts, and help whenever you need it. In 2015, we opened a new SchoolsFirst FCU branch in Inglewood, provided instant-issue debit cards in our branches, and through our partnership with Rite-Aid, added 42 additional Rite-Aid ATMs in San Diego County. We continued to make improvements to our SchoolsFirst FCU Mobile Banking app for Apple and Android devices, updating the design and functionality, adding fraud text alerts, and enhancing functionality to make transferring funds between accounts even easier. We added Apple Pay for our credit cards and MasterCard ID Theft Protection™ to provide safer ways to make payments and keep your financial information private.
We introduced an 84-month auto loan1 to give Members more flexibility and TrueCar®2, a car-buying service that offers a simple, transparent shopping experience with 10,000 participating dealerships, to ensure Members save significantly on new or used cars. And for homeowners, we offered the Rate Advantage Home Equity Line of Credit that provides a fixed interest rate for the first five years.3
Financial Education Creates Financial Success
Providing financial education remains a top priority for us. We continue to do this by offering a wide range of tools and advice options for youth and adults, including online and in-person financial and real estate workshops, digital and print educational newsletters, and learning modules via our partnership with Balance’s online Personal Financial Education Center. In 2015, we featured a new video monthly on our YouTube Channel, and increased our financial education posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We conducted 89 educational seminars on a variety of financial topics, and hosted close to 1,000 Members for our Retirement Forum.
In the classroom, we held 10 "Bite of Reality" events in which more than 1,500 students participated, resulting in a 100% increase over 2014, and 89 financial education presentations with 3,100 students, resulting in a 118% increase over 2014.
Financial Strength Followed
In 2015, Net Interest Income was $250.3 million, 9% higher than in 2014. This increase was fueled primarily by new loan growth bringing the year-to-date Net Income to $101.3 million. Assets grew to approximately $11.7 billion, resulting in a capital ratio of 11.5%, with an operating expense ratio of 2.10% versus 2.07% a year ago, and return on assets (ROA) of .89% versus 1.05% in 2014. None of these results would have been accomplished without you.
We Thank You for a Record Year
Our success is a direct result of your commitment to the Credit Union. Your enthusiastic participation resulted in a record year for share and loan growth. And, because you shared the benefits of Membership with friends and family, we continue to grow our reserves, keep costs low, and make better use of the resources we have. That means we are in a strong capital position to make investments designed to improve the lives of our Members and increase the financial resources we need for both now and in the future.
Together, we are part of something extraordinary. We are here to be your financial partner, and to help you achieve all your hopes and dreams. As always, we are honored and grateful for your Membership.
Chairman of the Board