Lending Leads Growth at 717 Credit Union

By Gary Soukenik
President and CEO, 717 Credit Union

WARREN, Ohio – Loans drive the engine of any financial institution and it was full steam ahead for 717 Credit Union in 2022. The credit union disbursed a record $560 million in loans to help members meet their needs and achieve their goals.

While there was strong growth in every loan category, auto lending led the way. The credit union was the top auto lender in the Mahoning Valley last year based on market share tracking by AutoView. 717 financed nearly 4,300 vehicles in the Mahoning Valley – 46% more loans than the next highest lender. The credit union financed more than 4,000 additional loans in Portage, Summit and Stark counties, ranking fourth among all lenders in those combined markets.

With rising mortgage rates and a tight housing supply, many individuals chose to upgrade their homes rather than buy a new house. As a result, 717 saw a 36% increase in its home equity loan portfolio.

Despite the rising mortgage rate environment, the credit union experienced a 15% increase in mortgage loans over 2021, which had been a record year.

717 also assisted local businesses pursuing opportunities for growth by disbursing more than $55 million in commercial loan dollars in 2022.

Strong loan growth can be attributed, in part, to strong membership growth. After crossing the milestone of 100,000 members to end 2021, 717 added another 7,000 members in 2022.  Measures of member satisfaction are among key indicators that have contributed to that growth. 

Across Google reviews, 717 branches average 4.7 out of 5-star rating. In addition, 717 participates in a mystery shopping program and consistently ranks among the top peer credit unions with an average score of 4.87 out of 5.

Asset growth remained strong. Only 8% of the nation’s credit unions have reached the milestone of $1 billion in assets. After hitting that mark at the end of 2018, it took fewer than four years for 717 to expand an additional half a billion dollars and end 2022 with $1.54 billion in assets.

717 was proud to receive special recognition from regional and national organizations for measures of safety and soundness, member satisfaction and employee engagement.

For the second year in a row, 717 was named a top-100 performing credit union in the United States by Global Market Insights. The credit union earned the top rating among Ohio credit unions.

717 also was named to Forbes’ top credit unions list, which is based on consumer surveys. Credit union members were asked to provide an overall satisfaction score for their financial institutions and answered questions focused on six facets of relationship: trust, terms and conditions (including reasonable and transparent fees), branch services, digital services, customer service and financial advice.

And 717 again earned a 5-Star Rating from Bauer Financial. Bauer rates credit unions and banks on a 0-to-5 star scale based on safety and soundness.

The credit union was also named a NorthCoast99 Award Winner. The honor is awarded to 99 Northeast Ohio workplaces that have exceptional policies, practices, and benefits that are shown to attract and retain top-performing employees.

Inflation, rising rates and the potential for recession may create financial difficulties for consumers and businesses in 2023. 717 began 2023 with a net worth ratio, a measure of safety and soundness, of 13.6%. This is nearly double the regulatory definition of a well-capitalized credit union. 717 is well positioned to assist members through such challenges.

As the last sizeable financial institution headquartered in Trumbull County and one of the few remaining in the Mahoning Valley,  717 is committed to serving its members and the broader community for decades to come.