White reported that during 2013 the credit union increased its year-end regulatory net worth ratio, a measure of safety and soundness, to 8.47 percent, maintaining its well-capitalized status. Total assets increased to $224.38 million, up 3.44 percent, member deposits increased to $199.62 million, up 4.74 percent, and membership increased to 15,993, up 2.28 percent. Over the past fiscal year the credit union said it originated $56.98 million in new loans.
White reported that during 2013 the reintroduction of the credit union’s self managed Visa credit card program had gotten off to a successful start during its first full year of production. As of year-end 2013, the Credit Union had issued 1,011 cards to members with credit limits totaling $7.62 million. The card program offers several options, including rewards, low rate, business and secured. During 2014, the credit union said it plans to enhance the rewards card by allowing members the option of converting rewards points to cash in addition to the current reward offerings.
White also noted that the credit union stayed very involved in the local communities. Its primary focus was promoting financial literacy within the local school systems. The credit union sponsored the Save for America Program in seven elementary schools with a total of 636 students participating. The program teaches elementary school students the importance of consistent savings.
At the high school level and in conjunction with the Rhode Island General Treasurer’s office, the credit union sponsored the EverFi Financial Literacy program in four local high schools. This learning method uses web-based online technology to teach young adults about personal finance. White reported that 401 students completed the program and were awarded certificates in 2013.
An additional high school financial literacy initiative was the credit union’s third annual CU for Reality Fair, which benefitted 194 students from the Westerly and Chariho High Schools. The fair created an interactive teaching environment where the students worked with local business representatives and learned how to live on a budget while making real-life financial choices. In 2014, the credit union plans to expand this program by offering it to Narragansett High School students for the first time.
“Financial literacy has been a major focus of our credit union for years. We hope to teach our young adults the importance of good financial management, so that they will have a financially secure adulthood,” White said.
William D. Horne, chairman of the board, pointed to the credit union’s Take the Challenge program, which has been very successful and has helped to set the credit union apart from other local institutions. Horne emphasized that it was created to help all members achieve their personal definition of financial success. He reported that more than 1,800 members have Taken the Challenge so far, and the Credit Union is proud to have played a role in their financial success.
In the Take the Challenge program, the organization’s finance service officers work with customers to establish financial priorities, review finances, and devise a plan to meet their goals.