A Message from Our CEO
Happy New Year! We hope you were able to safely connect with family and friends this holiday season.
The past year’s economy was significantly affected by unforeseeable circumstances. Fortunately, the market is beginning to recover with consumer spending already rebounding. Unemployment is forecasted to decrease, and it’s estimated gross domestic product will rise by 4.2% this year indicating our market is on the mend. Economists anticipate these factors will begin stabilizing the economy and return it to a more prosperous, pre-pandemic state.
Many of you are likely feeling the effects of the economy. Whether it’s assessing your budget and analyzing how you spend your money, or how you are making important decisions for you and your family. Last year brought significant change and it also presented the opportunity to adapt, grow, and overcome challenges. For us, to adapt and grow, we followed through with our plans of opening three new locations in Florence, Oakley, and Montgomery.
Your Credit Union was nimble and adjusted quickly to support members and businesses facing challenges. For example, we approved over 18,900 “skipped” payments, without a fee resulting in $7.6 million in payments deferred for members. And, we provided over $16.9 million in Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans to help our member businesses provide paychecks to their employees when their finances were strained. See page 5 for more information on these efforts.
Our focus shifted from original plans in 2020, as we were driven by remaining open and available to you, while safely incorporating all required pandemic protocols to protect you and our team members. While the magnitude of what occurred was encompassing of our time and efforts, we have planned member-focused initiatives in 2021. We will continue to invest in new and better ways to serve you as there are ever-changing financial needs. We will open three new branches in Q2 and Q3 in: Eastgate, South Lebanon, and West Chester expanding our physical footprint while evaluating additional location opportunities, including one in Western Hills. Our new branches will have low-contact banking options with our Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs), coupled with GECU team members eager to meet you and understand how we can best meet your current needs.
Also this year, we’re working on expanding the capabilities of our ITMs to handle more advanced transactions not currently found through this technology (e.g. accessing all accounts with us, making a loan payment or withdrawing from a line of credit). Doing so will provide you with the ability to handle your traditional “teller assisted” transactions 24/7/365; in essence you can perform your GECU transactions anytime you want, you won’t be bound by our business hours.
A new service we will introduce is an additional overdraft solution for our checking accountholders to provide another line of defense against our hectic days and potential overdrafts. Additionally, we’ll soon have the ability to instantly issue debit cards in our branches for new and existing checking account members. This means, when you open a new checking account with us, we’ll give you your debit card on the spot. Or, if you have an account and need to replace your debit card (due to it being lost, stolen or fraud), we’ll be able to instantly issue you a new one; no need to wait for it to be mailed. We’re also planning a big project to introduce a new, enhanced website to make the tools and resources you need easier to find. We will introduce robust features such as product selectors, appointment scheduling options, and the ability to chat with our team members. These changes are independent of, and will not impact, your Online Banking or mobile app experience.
We’re looking forward to this new year and the many opportunities ahead. Thank you for allowing us to be your trusted financial partner. We appreciate the confidence you’ve put in us and do not take this responsibility lightly.
Timothy D. Ballinger
President and Chief Executive Officer
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