Growth Report 2017: Strong Loan Demand At Seven Seventeen Credit Union

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

WARREN, Ohio — Seven Seventeen Credit Union recorded a 10.6% increase in its loan portfolio in 2016 and achieved strong financials as its focused on the financial well-being of its members, says Gary Soukenik.

Soukenik is president and CEO of the second-largest credit union in Ohio with 269 employees in 11 offices that serve Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Portage, Summit and Stark counties. Seven Seventeen celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

As a result, Seven Seventeen saw its assets climb to more than $910 million. Its net worth, a key measure of safety and strength, increased to 14%, double the 7% level defined as “well capitalized” under federal law.

Mortgage purchase volume grew more than 12.4% in and the used-auto portfolio rose 13.2%.  The home equity loan portfolio grew 6.6% while credit card borrowings rose 8.3% and the student loan portfolio grew by nearly 8.3%.

The commercial loan portfolio grew by 11.4% to $100.5 million. Small businesses opened more new free business checking accounts; such openings were more than 7.3% higher than in 2015.

Last year, the online publication ranked Seven Seventeen Credit Union among the top 200 healthiest in the country among the more than 6,000 federally insured credit unions. Seven Seventeen came in at 146. And Bauer Financial again gave the credit union its highest rating, five stars.

The Simplify & Save program, which turned five last August, helped members better organize their personal finances by offering financial education resources, account reviews and access to free financial counseling services. This resulted in participants savings more than $2.5 million in interest and fees through loan consolidation or refinancing debt, Soukenik says.

Over the last five-plus years, members have saved more than $40.1 million, he notes.
To provide members with new options for their banking needs, Seven Seventeen partnered with three popular digital wallets: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.
All allow members to make purchases by using their Seven Seventeen-issued credit or debit Cards with their mobile devices.

Seven Seventeen introduced programs to help members better manage their accounts and to better protect themselves against fraud. All Seven Seventeen Visa credit cardholders had SecurLOCK Fraud Alerts added to their accounts. The free service uses real-time, two-way text and interactive voice notifications to ask members to confirm the validity of suspicious purchases.

And the credit union introduced Visa Purchase Alert that allows members to register their credit and debit cards to receive near real-time transaction alerts via text and/or email whenever their card is used.

Consumers liked what Seven Seventeen offers as reflected by their ability to update their Mobile Banking Apps and add enhanced features such as Quick Balance and Fingerprint ID. NetWorth24 Online Banking and Bill Pay also saw a new look and updates, including the ability to transfer money to other members’ accounts.

The number of members who use online banking grew by 8.6%, mobile banking users by 27.2%, and Mobile Banking App users grew by 30.4%.  Users of bill pay went up 19% and the number of online accounts opened rose 8.7%.

In its first full year, the remote signature option, which allows members to securely sign most loan documents from anywhere by using a mobile phone, tablet or computer, saw more than 2,700 documents signed.

Seven Seventeen Retirement & Investment Group, a partner of the credit union, saw its assets under management grow by 6% to more than $180 million.

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