SIU Credit Union navigated a year of change and adaptation in 2022, even while society shifted back to a more traditional way of doing business post-COVID. We faced some challenges that we haven’t seen in some time, including staying financially sound in a volatile marketplace.
With fluctuating interest rates throughout the latter half of the year, we shifted focus more upon growing membership and deposits, along with maintaining a steady volume of loans. We’re pleased to share this balance was achieved with great success.
As president and chief executive officer, I am pleased to share that 2022 was another strong year for our member owners, and we remained true to our mission statement of being the trusted provider of financial services to our member-owners.
Some highlights from 2022:
- As a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative, providing financial benefits to our members is our primary focus. Per our 2022 CUNA Membership Benefits Report, it is estimated that SIU Credit Union provided $4,683,567 in direct financial benefits to our members during the 12 months ending in September 2022.
- SIUCU continues to expand our membership reach, which has grown to over 43,000 members in 2022. We have provided outstanding products and services for members needing auto loans, business loans, mortgages, refinancing, personal loans, or other requests.
- Continuing to fulfill our pledge to provide credit to our membership, we grew our loan portfolio substantially over the prior year, despite a combination of stimulus money loan payoffs early in the year and inflationary impacts in the latter half of the year.
- We were recertified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) credit union and were awarded our first funds to redistribute into our region to assist underserved borrowers in 2023.
- Voted as the Best Credit Union in The Southern Illinoisan Readers’ Choice Awards, for the ninth year in a row.
- Implemented SIUCU Rewards, which rewards members who use the debit cards with cash-back, discounts at merchants, gift cards, charitable contributions and more.
- Updated ATMs at all branches to improve functionality, speed, and reliability for transactions.
- Added industry leader Zelle as a peer-to-peer instant payment option, giving members flexibility in moving money between friends, family, and trusted individuals.
- Introduced “Bill,” our enhanced virtual assistant, so members can ask conversational questions about their accounts 24/7 through chat and get the answers they need at their convenience.
In 2022 we were able to help an abundance of groups who support our communities.
Our employees donated over $8700 to our “Jeans Because We Care” charitable fund. We supported five charities locally within the communities we serve. This year, employees voted to support The Night’s Shield, Weekend Blessings, St. Francis CARE Animal Shelter, Herrin House of Hope, and the Saline County Shop with a Cop Program. Our branches continued to take their “sponsorships” a bit further with more supply drives to help each group throughout the year as well, including at our free shred days.
We also made contributions to a series of organizations that help varying communities, including $2000 for the Survivor Empowerment Center for their Survivor’s Circle of Hope and other events, $2500 to the Salvation Army to benefit their annual Tree of Lights campaign, and $1000 to the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts for their “Lights Blizzard” and other seasonal events at the museum.
Our commitment to SIU and their student populations remains vibrant with $15,000 for SIU’s Touch of Nature Dawg Days event that orientates students to their new home, as well as $20,000 for other new SIU student orientation events. We also helped fund the SIU Women’s Conference with a $2500 sponsorship and even supported the SIU Women’s’ Softball team with $1500 for their Fueling Station.
Other groups served include $2000 to Centerstone human services agency to help fund several programs including their developmental group home, a strong commitment to Special Olympics with $5000 for their Ducky Derby fundraiser and $2000 for their Polar Plunge event. $2000 went to The Night’s Shield to help area children with basic needs during times of family crisis, and $2500 to the Boys and Girls Club for various local programs for underprivileged youth.
Our dedication to instilling financial literacy to our region’s schools through various methods, such as our award-winning content provider Banzai, increased again this year. Our end-of-year report shows we provided 32,040 students and 453 teachers at 195 area schools with financial education tools.
Our teams continued to work on some new initiatives that will benefit our membership and how they conduct business with SIU Credit Union.
We launched our new live chat option with Glia, which helps staff better assist members remotely, and then later added our virtual assistant “Bill” to the offering. Bill will bring a new, conversational feature to users looking for any number of questions about their accounts.
We also added some new credit-building loan options for those seeking alternatives to payday lending and other high-interest choices, as well as other tools that will help make the member experience better for everyone.
I would like to formally thank our volunteer Board of Directors and Committee members for their continued guidance and commitment to our mission. As members-owners, you elect these individuals to represent your best interests, and they uphold these initiatives for your financial cooperative every day. I am also grateful for our devoted credit union employees and thank them for their outstanding service to our members.
We’re proud of our past accomplishments, we look forward to continuing success, and as always, We’re Working for You!