As I write this Annual Report letter to you, I find myself thinking of Notre Dame FCU’s future.
From my seat, things have never been better. 2015 was a record year in many ways – in finance, innovation and community outreach.
In 2015, your credit union generated over $2 million in earnings. We introduced Irish Card Shield™ to become one of the first financial institutions nationwide to provide its members with complete control of their credit and debit cards.
We instituted a cash back program for autos, which you responded to with overwhelming enthusiasm. Our Elevate™ program continues to gain national awareness, as we spread our mission into dioceses and parishes coast to coast.
In 2015, we awarded more scholarships and internships than ever before. We also expanded our financial literacy efforts by offering more Financial Peace University classes than in any year prior. We were also pleased to offer these classes in both English and Spanish, to ensure that we provide value to all our members.
It is in these latter accomplishments that I feel the most pride. Don’t get me wrong; we must make a profit to continue delivering innovation to our members. Profit also enables us to provide the salaries and benefits necessary to attract and retain the best staff possible.
However, profit is a means to an end, not the end in itself.
Let me give you an example. In 2015, we began charging members one dollar to receive their statements in the mail versus receiving them electronically. Several of our wealthier members demanded that we waive this fee for them, saying that banks regularly waive such charges. Many were incredulous when they were told that this fee was to be waived for no one.
Here’s why. It is true that most banks waive fees like this for clients who have significant deposits and/or loans with them. It is also true that for people who do not meet these thresholds, the fees that are charged are significant. For example, chargeable bank “paper statement” fees imposed on those with no other options are about $3 per month, with some as high as $5 per month.
See the problem? By waiving fees for some, the others pay more. That is why we charge only one dollar for everyone. No exceptions.
I started this letter talking about what the future holds for Notre Dame FCU. Have no doubt that our future will be very bright. However, how we define our “brightness” will not be measured simply by profits.
Our success as a member-owned cooperative will be more determined by how well we remain true to our mission and the role we are to play in the lives of our members. We must never forget the plight of our retirees, those members who fight the daily battle to make ends meet and our members who struggle with English as their second language, as we create policies, products and services that will impact our entire membership.
Sometimes mistakes happen. We are not perfect, but nothing is ever perfect.
What matters more is that we keep our organizational hearts and minds open to doing good and being fair wherever and whenever we can. Like you, we fight this battle every day, but it is much easier when we do it together.
Be proud of where you bank. We do make a difference as a direct result of your loyalty and support. Thank you for being a member of the Notre Dame FCU family!
Thomas J. Gryp, President/CEO
Class of ‘79