By Gary Soukenik
President & CEO, 717 Credit Union
WARREN, Ohio – For 63 years, 717 Credit Union has protected the financial well-being of our members. As individuals and families faced a wide range of difficulties in 2020, 717 remained financially strong and ready to serve without interruption.
In 2020, we installed 26 personal teller machines in the drive-thrus at eight branches and at our first free-standing PTM in Weathersfield Township. Similar in appearance to an ATM, PTMs allow members to conduct almost any transaction that can be performed inside a branch from the convenience and safety of their vehicles 24/7. By the end of 2021, all branch locations with drive-thrus will have PTMs.
The credit union’s digital technology was also pivotal in ensuring members had continual access to their accounts. Our online banking, telephone banking and mobile banking app offered members alternative options for accessing their accounts without jeopardizing their health and safety.
Moreover, 2020 was a year of strong growth for the credit union. Membership grew by more than 7% to nearly 94,000 as deposits grew 17% and assets increased to more than $1.26 billion. The year ended with a net worth ratio of 14%, double the 7% defined as “well-capitalized” under federal law.
The credit union also saw record loan production of $465 million with mortgage lending leading the way. While growth was strong among retail relationships, new free business checking accounts increased by 49%. Commercial lending remained strong with $60 million in new loan production.
Although many businesses faced layoffs over the course of the pandemic, we actually increased our workforce by 5% to 317 employees. And we introduced a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee tasked with reviewing the organization’s policies and practices through the lens of inclusivity.
Over the course of 2020, employees donated more than $50,000 and volunteered many hours of their time to organizations such as the American Heart Association, United Way, Relay for Life and more.
To provide much needed community support, 717 made $10,000 donations to Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley, Trumbull County United Way and Family and Community Services Inc. The credit union also matched a $10,000 grant from the Ohio Credit Union Foundation to provide $20,000 to assist those financially affected by the pandemic with daily needs. We also helped address the challenges presented by the pandemic with free skip payments, loan modifications and fee waivers for our members.