2020 Year In Review
posted on Thursday, December 17, 2020 in Newsletters
I hope this message finds you all safe and healthy. Thank you for choosing Community 1st Credit Union, your loyal membership is greatly appreciated. 2020 was definitely a challenge in many ways, as so much changed and our lives were rearranged and redefined. As I look back on all our accomplishments, I’m proud to report that even in such challenging times C1st had a successful year. You are the reason we have a solid foundation, allowing us to provide the products and services you expect from us.
We are here to improve the lives of our members. In 2020, C1st focused on members who experienced financial hardships due to the pandemic or the derecho storm in August. We worked vigorously to fund applications through the Paycheck Protection Program of the Small Business Administration, funding a total of $12.2 million to help local businesses who experienced a loss of income because of the pandemic. We also provided many other helpful tools, including skip-a-pay loan flexibility, mortgage extensions, and personal loan specials. We know it’s imperative to provide competitive and helpful solutions to alleviate financial stress when times are tough.
In June 2020, C1st rolled out a new first-time home buyers assistance program designed specifically for low-income and underserved individuals. The forgivable loans were funded by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. It was an excellent opportunity to help those who otherwise might not be able to purchase a home, or get the home they’ve been dreaming of. With this unique program, individuals qualified for up to $5,000 in forgivable loans toward their down payment.
One of our five brand promises is having the right technology for today and tomorrow. In the spring of 2020, C1st closed their first mortgage loan without the member ever stepping into a branch. This was made possible by remote online notarization – a great tool for digital mortgage closings. Also in the fall of 2020, we upgraded our digital banking system. The new platform offers services such as mobile check deposits, loan payments, text banking, near real-time alerts, pay-a-member (C1st accounts), pay-a-friend (non-C1st accounts), Bill Payer, Apple Watch, and so much more. We hope you are enjoying a seamless experience whether you access your accounts via browser, tablet or mobile device.
We are a strong and empowered team at C1st! In September, the Des Moines Register published The 2020 Iowa Top Workplaces, a list of best places to work in Iowa. I am thrilled to let you know C1st was named to the list for the fifth year in a row. The employer honor is based on results of an employee feedback survey, truly showing we have something special happening here.
We are connected to our communities. Supporting causes close to our heart, such as financial literacy and community betterment, the C1st Foundation was very active in 2020. When the pandemic hit in March, $15,000 was donated to the Iowa Credit Union Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund, used to assist Iowans in need during the pandemic. In August, we awarded $4,000 to the Ottumwa Area Arts Council for the Main Street Streetscape Art Project, and $25,000 to Jefferson County Kids Early Childhood Learning for a new childcare facility in Fairfield. Finally, in November, we awarded $5,000 to the Mahaska County YMCA for their new building project in Oskaloosa. All of the project awards were made possible by grants from the C1st Credit Union Impact Giving Fund of Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
We continue to expand and invest in facilities. We were excited to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new branch facility in Osceola, IA . The facility will become our 18th branch. Construction began in September with a planned completion date of July 2021. The building features six offices, a large conference room, a spacious lobby including a children’s activity center and three drive-thru lanes – one offering an ATM. We’re extremely excited to become an integral part of the Osceola community.
C1st has also taken the first official steps to grow even further into western Iowa. C1st and Nishna Valley Credit Union have agreed to merge and partner together for an exciting future. Nishna Valley CU currently has 4,900 members and approximately $40 million in assets with branches located in Atlantic and Creston, IA. We anticipate the merger will take place over the next six months.
We are passionate about our members. In spring 2020, we awarded $42,000 in scholarships to 22 area high school seniors and non-traditional students. C1st has a long tradition of supporting local communities and education through its generous scholarship program.
We began 2020 with $700 million in assets and 60,000 members, and even in this difficult year have continued to enjoy sustained growth. C1st now sits at over $800 million in assets and more than 61,000 members. This wouldn’t be possible without you, our loyal members. Thank you for continuing to put your trust in Community 1st Credit Union.
President & CEO