Our Board of Director’s strategic focus is always on the long-term value SeaComm can bring to you by being relevant to your needs. We are committed to adding new products and services which will assist you in making your financial lives even better. We also want to ensure we are here not only for today, but for tomorrow as well. That simply means we have to ensure we are financially viable.
Financial Strength: Our financial position remains solid. Year-end assets climbed in excess of $482 million, an annual growth of more than 5% from year-end December 31, 2013. At the same time, our net operating expenses YTD were at 1.67%, well below our goal of 2.75%. We finished the year with a net income of $5.2 million, garnering us more than $61 million in total equity to-date. Capital remains a key component to our financial health as it is necessary to maintain adequate reserves for loan losses as our assets continue to grow. It ensures that we are able to withstand any uncertainty like we encountered during the past few years as well as to be viable well into the future. A new mandate will be forthcoming from our regulator NCUA in terms of capital reform. As we get nearer to that becoming regulation, we will ensure that it will be communicated to you in this forum.
State & National Recognition: We are continuing to be recognized by outside industry related groups for the results we are garnering. The important component is the fact that these are not isolated occasions. Multiple year acknowledgements solidify our position that we are sustainable for the long-term. We are continuing to be recognized for our financial performance and making employees a priority.
• In mid-January, we received notification that we had been chosen for a fifth year in a row as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York for 2014. Our selection as one of the top small to mid-sized companies was based upon a survey in which our employees were asked to participate, along with requested criteria we had to provide. A few of the focus areas included role satisfaction, leadership & planning, work environment, corporate culture and communication as well as relationship with supervisor. We are extremely proud to be included within this privileged group.
• Our financial strength continues to be recognized as well. Weiss Ratings, the nation’s leading independent provider of ratings and analyses of more than 19,000 financial institutions, including, banks, credit unions, life and annuity insurers and property and casualty insurers gave us an “A” rating. A ranking of “A” is considered excellent, meaning SeaComm offers excellent financial security. In a letter dated June 20, 2014, Weiss congratulated us for achieving their rating of “A” or “Excellent”. Weiss states its ratings’ proprietary model uses more rigorous standards than other rating agencies, placing a greater emphasis on a company’s future financial solvency and its ability to withstand severe economic adversity. For that reason, a company receiving their highest financial strength rating truly demonstrates itself to be among the industry’s elite. In addition, they wrote, This is an excellent rating that is not easy to earn. SeaComm is among the top 5% of the 6,800 credit unions nationwide to receive this designation.
• BauerFinancial, an independent rating company awarded us their Superior Five-Stars. They analyze the performance of U.S. Banks and Credit Unions. The star ratings classify each credit union based upon a complex formula which factors in relevant data including, but not limited to: capital, historical trends, loan delinquencies, differences in the book and market values of the investment portfolio, profitability, repossessed assets, reserves, charge-offs, regulatory compliance and asset quality. It has deemed SeaComm as safe, financially sound we are operating well above their regulatory capital requirements.
How does SeaComm continue do so well? There are a few things we take into consideration in developing our overall strategy. 1. Taking care of our members; 2. Have great employees; and 3. Prudent financial management.
Service…A Key Focus: Our focus has been offering our members a compelling value. From the time they walk into one of our branches, phone into our Call Center or log in at one of our mobile delivery platforms, we want the experience to exceed their expectations. We don’t take that lightly. In fact we obsess over it. We believe so much in member satisfaction, that on a monthly basis, random surveys are sent out to members who have conducted some sort of transaction at the Credit Union. This can be as simple as a balance inquiry to applying for a loan. Whatever the circumstance, we want feedback on how the member was treated and if we did everything necessary to make them feel valued. The survey results are reviewed by everyone on the management team that is responsible for a retail area, as well as by my senior leadership team and me. If we do find areas where there needs to be improvement, we ensure that changes are made. The only way we can improve our delivery experience is if someone tells us where changes need to be made.
At the end of the year, we calculate the overall average of every employee who received surveys on their delivery of service. The top five Brenda Clark, Tracy Miller, Rose LaPointe-Matthews, Lisa Tyo and Penny Eagles were recognized for their high achievement in this area. We are extremely proud of the work all our employees perform and their consistency in delivering exceptional member service.
People Advantage: We have a talented, smart, hard-working staff, which take great pride in their work of serving our members. We do have high expectations and are committed to maintaining that standard moreover, we are incredibly fortunate to have dedicated employees who live our mission of “people helping people”.
Prudent Balance Sheet Management: At the same time, we acknowledge that our results also stem from effective margin and balance sheet management with a strong emphasis on expense control. We are constantly looking for ways to diversify. The more diversified our income stream, the more likely we can offset any adverse economic conditions that come our way. This also enables us to offer new products and services, which are geared for our members’ needs.
Expansion Update: Our $5.4 million expansion on our Massena headquarters continues. We completed Phase II at the end of 2014, which was the construction of a new 20,533 square foot building on the West side of the current building. This phase included a new retail branch with six drive-thru lanes and two ATM’s one drive-up and the other in-lobby. In addition, the Card Services, Deposit Operations, Risk Management and Member Business Lending Departments have all been relocated from 79 Main Street to 30 Stearns Street. Phase III includes the complete renovation of the existing building, which includes our Information Systems Department, Human Resources, Executive area, employee lounge and board room. Paving and landscaping will be completed in May. We are continuing to keep everyone informed with a dedicated web page about this project. This includes a blog from me and photos of the progress. As an update, we are committed to providing an ATM in the downtown area and will be locating our current one from 79 Main St. to 35 Andrews. This will remain a drive-up for the convenience of our members.
A re-grand opening will be held on June 6, 2015 at 30 Stearns St. when the entire construction project is expected to be fully completed.
New Products & Services: In 2015, we are adding a new electronic platform for E-Account Opening, whereby accounts will be able to be opened electronically without having to go into a branch.
In addition, we are moving to migrate to EMV later this year, which will add more protection from fraud on not only our issued credit cards, but also our debit as well. This is a technological based initiative which moves our cards from the current magnetic stripe card to more intelligent chip enhanced cards. There is no mandate to have EMV in place by a certain date; however, as a credit union we want to begin the process sooner than later. At the same time, we will be upgrading all of our ATMs for EMV.
2014 was another incredible year for us. Member satisfaction, staff engagement and overall profitability remained high. We so very grateful to our members who have put their trust in us and we will continue to work diligently to remain strong in order to be able to serve well into the future. On behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff, I would like to thank everyone who has made SeaComm what it is today and for allowing us to continue to serve your financial needs. We look forward to working together in 2015.
Scott A. Wilson
President & Chief Executive Officer
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