Dear Fellow Owners,
As I sit down to write this letter, I find myself more optimistic than I was this time last year. The world seems to be slowly returning to normal and there is a growing sense of hope for the future.
Of all the lessons learned in the past year, the most profound has been to truly understand the need for both empathy and speed when serving our owners. Each of you were impacted differently by the pandemic. Whether financially, emotionally or both, everyone had reasons to worry about what their futures would hold. When those concerns centered around finances, you wanted to speak to someone immediately and not be ignored or put off.
Even though our branch lobbies were closed, every one of our partners remained employed, with most assigned to answering calls and emails from you. Often these partners worked past normal business hours to ensure each of you got the immediate attention you deserved. While other financial institutions ran commercials saying, “we are here for you” or “we are all in this together”, I know for a fact our partners were actually doing it. Not just because it was their jobs, but because it was what they genuinely wanted to do. We are all very fortunate to have such great people serving us.
Another example of our efforts to serve you with empathy and speed was through support of small businesses by funding over 1,100 PPP loans. Again, our partners worked evenings and weekends to process applications quickly so our business and non-profit member-owners would have the funding to keep their doors open. When the dust settled, we learned we were the third largest lender of PPP loans among all credit unions nationwide. We estimated we were able to help save more than 20,000 jobs through this program.
We were also able to increase our community give back last year, especially through our Elevate Fundraising Program. In 2020, we began a partnership with Marian High School, supporting the school with both scholarships and our new SCRIP cards, which gives 1% of every purchase back to the school. Since our pilot program with Marian, we have continued to expand the partnership to many other schools and non-profit organizations.
Along with those scholarships and fundraising givebacks, we gave back nearly $2 million overall to our owners and community non-profit organizations last year. This is one of the true benefits of ownership in a credit union.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to simply say thank you. Thank you for allowing us to serve you, thank you for helping us grow through your referrals, and thank you for voting us Michiana’s Best Financial Institution (8x), Michiana’s Best Mortgage Lender (2x) and Michiana’s Best Investment Firm. More than ever before, receiving such recognition did wonders in keeping spirits high and focused in 2020.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or complaints, please do not hesitate to contact me at TGryp@NotreDameFCU.com.
Thomas J. Gryp