Assets Top $1.1B, Membership Up 4% at 717 Credit Union

By Gary Soukenik, president and CEO, 717 Credit Union
WARREN, Ohio — As 717 Credit Union celebrated  62 years as a member-owned financial cooperative in 2019, we introduced the latest technology, opened two branches and offered Medicare insurance plan options to our members – all while continuing to maintain strong financials and grow.

To provide longer drive-thru hours and members with more convenient banking, the credit union introduced new technology called personal teller machines (PTMs).  

Similar in appearance to ATM, PTMs allow members to conduct even more transactions 24/7. Instead of using a familiar drive-thru tube, members now interact with the PTM. A 717 personal teller can assist members with their transaction via two-way video or members can use the machine in self-service mode. 

Just as 717 was the first financial institution in the area to introduce ATM technology in the late 1970s, we are the first to introduce the PTM technology in the Mahoning Valley. 

PTMs were presented at our new full-service Warren and Canfield branches.  The Canfield branch, 4280 Boardman-Canfield Road, is our 13th office and fourth in Mahoning County. We plan to add PTMs at more branch drive-thrus throughout 2020. 

The new branches were designed to be as technologically advanced as possible so the credit union could continue to provide members the convenience and service they’ve come to expect.

The new Warren branch is on the same property as the previous branch, now known as the 717 Financial Center. Construction is underway at the financial center to expand the space for back-office operations, meeting rooms for appointments with representatives from our retirement and investment group and commercial loan professionals, and safe deposit boxes for members. 

Also last year, 717 Credit Union introduced Member Medicare Solutions, which offers members Medicare plan options. 

717 exceeded previous benchmarks by increasing its assets to more than $1.1 billion in 2019. The year ended with a net worth, a key measure of safety and strength, of 14.75%, more than double the 7% defined as “well-capitalized” under federal law.

Credit union membership grew by more than 4% to nearly 88,000 members. New and existing account holders deepened relationships, with loans growing by 5% and deposits growing by nearly 9%.

While growth was strong among retail relationships, businesses also continued taking advantage of the credit union’s business-friendly products and services. New free business checking account openings increased by 8%. Commercial loans soared by 21% to more than $126 million. 

The credit union spent 2019 working toward greater diversification of our workforce through collaboration with Youngstown State University to offer internships while expanding training and development to ensure our position as a leading employer.

To meet the changing demands of our industry, we increased our workforce by 5% for a total of 309 employees, improved the skills of all of our member-facing workforce by introducing new technology and converted 50% of our YSU interns into full-time employees. 

717 Retirement & Investment Group, a partner that provides investment and retirement planning services, saw its assets under management grow to nearly $200 million. 

Lastly, the credit union remained dedicated to community organizations. Over the course of 2019, employees donated roughly $60,000 and volunteered many hours of their time to organizations such as the American Cancer Society, United Way, Relay for Life and the Salvation Army. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.