CEO UPDATES ARCHIVE

Scott A. Wilson

Past Updates From President & Chief Executive Officer Scott A. Wilson

Browse through our archive to find content from the past pertaining to SeaComm President & CEO, Scott A. Wilson, and the credit union. Here you will find his videos, interviews, and messages to the membership.

View the list of topics below and click on any of them to expand the article.

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Message from the President & Chief Executive Officer

Fifty thousand members and growing. We recently hit this significant milestone with a new member account opened in our Malone branch. How proud all of those who were part of the early days would be today. Earl Jackson, of Massena, who signed our original charter, stated, “Something I never dreamed about. We wanted to help a few people. It is amazing.” We continue to ensure we are focused on the mission of “People Helping People” even more than 57 years later. We have come a long way since the toolbox at the Chevrolet Plant. Gary Fuller, Secretary of the Board, who has been with the Credit Union since day one, said, “It is amazing how many people we have helped.”

Lewis and Jefferson Counties

Increasing our market share is a long-term strategic goal of the Credit Union. This past year as part of our ongoing strategy discussions, the Board of Directors unanimously approved plans to move forward with requesting a charter expansion from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) into Jefferson and Lewis Counties. Our Federal regulator NCUA had to give us approval to expand our existing charter. Therefore, we submitted a comprehensive application, business plan and marketing strategy with a three-year financial forecast to the Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion.

We are happy to report that NCUA approved us to move forward with our plans adopting a new field of membership which encompasses all of Franklin, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Jefferson and Lewis Counties in New York and Grand Isle, Franklin and Chittenden Counties in Vermont. The Board of Directors adopted the amendment to our Charter on December 16, 2020.

In order to continue SeaComm’s success it is necessary to garner new members. Today, SeaComm has a significant market share penetration in its original field of membership. Our strategy is to continue to diversify the markets in which we do business. This diversification will enable SeaComm to withstand certain economic anomalies which have or could be market specific. Most recently, we opened a retail branch in South Burlington, VT and very soon in Essex, VT.

The Board of Directors, in their decision-making process, is committed to the fact that the exceptional member service our current members have come to expect will remain at the highest level as part of this planned expansion. SeaComm is also committed to staying true to our mission. In fact, to solidify that position, the Board, myself and the senior leadership team continue to make this part of our regular agenda for ongoing strategic planning discussions. As we move forward with more definitive plans, we will be making those available.

As we have been navigating a difficult world-wide pandemic that placed our economy in a holding pattern, we recognize even more the importance of ensuring we have sufficient net worth. Our retained earnings have continued to keep pace with our asset growth and have an excellent capital position. This expansion will enable our Credit Union to grow and be financially sustainable well into the future.

Iconic Toolbox

Even though we are growing and heading into these new markets, we are still committed to our intended mission; and will be forever committed to our roots of taking care of all our members. It all started more than fifty-seven years ago in that iconic tool box and our focus on the details will ensure we stay consistent with those humble beginnings.

Financial Strength:Our financial position continues to remain solid. Year-end assets climbed in excess of $660 million, an annual growth of 16% from year-end December 31, 2019. At the same time, our net operating expenses YTD were at 1.90%, well below our goal of 3%. We finished the year with a net income of $6 million, garnering us more than $99 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 are encountering today with COVID’s hit to our economy. A new capital requirement has been approved by the NCUA Board and will be fully implemented by January 1, 2022. We are prepared for these changes.

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’ current needs.

Weiss Ratings

Our financial strength continues to be nationally recognized. 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. SeaComm maintains a conservative stance in its business operations as evidenced by their strong equity base, superior asset quality, steady earnings and high liquidity. Weiss goes on to state that SeaComm has the resources necessary to deal with severe economic conditions. SeaComm is among an elite group of 547 credit unions nationwide representing the top 10.5% of the industry.

Bauer Financial

BauerFinancial, an independent rating company, recently 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 and we are operating well above their regulatory capital requirements.

Service & Our People 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 the retail area, as well as by the 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. This year, personally I will be engaging a number of member focus groups to hear directly about what they perceive as their experience in the branches.

At the end of each year, we calculate the overall average of every employee who received surveys on their delivery of service both externally and internally. The top ten in 2020:

  • Melissa Cree, Core Support Specialist, Information Systems
  • Aaron Hoyt, Systems Administrator II, Information Systems
  • Tabitha Ladison, Team Lead, Payment Operations
  • Noah McCarthy, Help Desk Specialist, Information Systems
  • Rose Lapoint-Matthews, Senior Teller, Canton Branch
  • Sarah Mitchell, Risk Manager
  • Brooke Peck, Senior Teller, Malone Branch
  • Jeffrey Reynolds, Financial Services Representative/IRA Specialist, Stearns St. Branch
  • Taylor Thrasher, Call Center Representative
  • Lisa Tyo, Call Center Representative III

All were recognized for their high achievement in this area. This is the eighth year in a row for Rose Lapoint-Matthews of our Canton Branch, who has been consistently at the top for exceptional service. We are extremely proud of those individuals and the work all of our employees perform and their consistency in delivering exceptional member service.

This year, for the first time, a branch was given an award for the top Quality Loop overall average. This is a new category and was awarded to Plattsburgh with an overall score of 6.86 out of 7. Congratulations to Yvonne Alterie, AVP Regional Manager/Branch Manager, and her entire team.

We know why SeaComm is so successful. We have a talented, smart, hard-working staff, which takes 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 service values.

New Services: We now have available instant issue credit. This new service will enable our members to come in, be approved for a credit card, and walk out with one the very same day. This will also assist our members who have had their cards compromised, so they do not have to wait 10 business days for a new one to arrive in the mail. We already have this on our debit card platform. We have also added some enhanced features on our mobile application. This includes a forgot password link, our routing & transit number for convenience, ability to turn a debit card on or off for security purposes, and a single sign-on feature to pay your payment.

Today, you can also apply for a mortgage online. In addition, we can virtually work through your process from the comfort of your own home.

Going forward, our focus continues to be on enhancing our product and service offerings to meet the ever-changing business landscape and provide each member with a strong value proposition in being a member of our Credit Union. This is done through a consistent and responsible growth strategy.

As we near a full year into this unprecedented time, and although there has been some change to our normal operating environment by adding to all precautionary safety protocols in place as advised by the NYS Department of Health and CDC, all of our staff are working and we are functioning smoothly. This is the testament to our employees, who have been coming to work each day to ensure we continue to do what we do best, take care of our members. And, finally, we have decided that no ScoreCard Reward points will expire in 2021, which will enable our members to use them as they choose, since most travel, for example, was on pause last year.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff, we are grateful to our more than 50,000 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.


Respectfully submitted,

Scott Wilson Signature

Scott A. Wilson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Report of the President & Chief Executive Officer

As we move well into the third quarter, we reflect on the fact that 2020 started out respectable with all indications that it would be a good year. Then we faced an unthinkable pandemic. Our economy has been slowed down considerably.

As a member of SeaComm it is important to know that our members can count on us to be there when they need us the most. Were we ready? The answer is yes. Overseen through our strategic planning process by our Board of Directors, it is important for everyone to know that SeaComm has been preparing for this event since 2008 when the global economic crisis hit the financial services industry and put our country into a great recession. SeaComm has grown over the past decade, including our capital reserves at just over $90 million or 14.29%. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), our Federal regulator, necessitates at least 7% of a credit union’s assets are to be reserved in order to be considered well-capitalized. We are more than twice that requirement. We stress test our liquidity and capital each quarter to ensure if some sort of economic anomaly like the one that is occurring today, positions us to weather it. Liquidity at the Credit Union is very strong. We have monthly cash flows, which enable us to operate, loan or invest. In addition, we have access to a line of credit at the Federal Home Loan Bank of NY or the Federal Discount Window at the Federal Reserve Bank, which we can utilize. That has not been necessary at this time. This is due to the financial strength of the Credit Union.

Throughout the last several months we were well equipped to meet the financial needs of our membership. We have been working daily with anyone who has been affected by layoffs, furloughs or impacted in anyway by this economic turmoil. We are always open to assisting members with a number of options, including, but not limited to, offering lines of credit, extensions or skip payments, bridge loans or even waiving a penalty for early withdrawal on a certificate of deposit. This includes our business members.

Iconic Toolbox

Through the US Treasury Stimulus, our small business members had been able to apply for Payroll Protection Program loans guaranteed by SBA. We have ensured that our member businesses had access to this program. Those were necessary for our small businesses and their respective employees. This kept so many working and helped to bridge them by underwriting nearly $6 million worth of loans through PPP. This was key component of the economic stimulus plan that the Treasury put into place to get us through this unprecedented time.

Although there has been some change to our normal operating environment, all of our staff were working during the shutdown and functioned smoothly. This is the testament to our employees, who have been coming to work each day to ensure we continue to do what we do best, take care of our members and their families. With that said, SeaComm continues to work toward meeting our forecast set forth in the FY20 operating budget. Member satisfaction, staff engagement and overall profitability continues to remain high. We will begin construction on the second of three planned branches in Vermont.

Our Financial Position Today Continues to Remain Solid: Year-to-date net income as of July 31, 2020 is $ $3,569,701. Our net assets at the end of the same period were $646,237,077. At the same time, net operating expenses YTD were 1.90%, well below the 3% targeted goal set by the credit union’s budget. Today, we have $90 million in total equity to date. As I had mentioned previously capital, remains a key component to our financial health, as it is necessary to grow adequate reserves in times like today where we can withstand uncertainty as our assets continue to increase and thereby be viable well into the future.

Weiss Ratings

Weiss, an independent rating agency, has once again provided SeaComm the A- rating in terms of excellent financial strength. BauerFinancial has once again provided SeaComm with their Superior Five-Stars. This independent rating agency analyzes 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. Bauer Financial A+ Health & Stability Rating It has deemed SeaComm as safe, financially sound, and that we are operating well above regulatory capital requirements. DepositAccounts has also given us an A rating for Q1 FY20; one of the highest health grades given out.

56th Annual Meeting: This is the first time in the history of SeaComm that we held our annual meeting virtually. This did afford us the opportunity to provide full access to our members who wanted to attend even in other markets like Plattsburgh and South Burlington.56th Annual Meeting In my report at this year’s annual meeting in May, we were pleased to announce 2019 was another exceptional year for SeaComm. It was emphasized that our financial strength has enabled SeaComm to continue to provide the essential services to our members even as the economy was on hold. Highlights for the previous year included: continued market share penetration at 33% with 1.78% in Clinton County, membership growth at 4%, net income of $6.2 million, as well as a solid sixth year for our SeaComm Personal Advisor Services with $34 million of assets under management. The overall message was that SeaComm is committed to ensuring our members get the very best in member service, core products and a diverse delivery channel model. Two Directors were re-elected to 3-year terms, Myron Burns and Mitch Marolf. A podcast recapping the meeting is available on our website.

Market Expansion: The Board of Directors has approved plans to move forward with the construction of our second branch in Essex, Vermont. This additional location will offer the Credit Union opportunity to continue to grow and diversify our markets in the state. It is expected that the groundbreaking will be held early September with a completion in early spring 2021.

As we have stated in the past, even though we are adding another branch, we are committed to exceeding member expectation as we always have. It is important to know that we make certain that everything we plan and ultimately implement has member and employee satisfaction as our end goal. Our focus has and continues to be to offer 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 do not 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 myself.

Best Companies to Work For

Earlier this year, we were notified that SeaComm had been chosen for a tenth consecutive year as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York. Our selection as #13 out of 21 of the top 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. In response to the question, Overall, I am very satisfied with my employer, we received 96% agreement. We are extremely proud to be included within this privileged group.

Rep. Stefanik Photo

Governmental Affairs: SeaComm’s involvement in the credit union movement goes beyond our geographic market of the North Country. Each year, members of our Board of Directors, senior staff and myself travel to Washington, D.C., to talk with key legislators about issues which are extremely important to the credit union industry. Our visit to Washington in late February, also included a visit to the Hill with our representatives in Vermont as well as the 21st New York Congressional District Representative Elise Stefanik. The Congresswoman has been supportive of legislation which would benefit credit unions,including, H.R. 225 Stopping Merchant Data Breaches (which would require merchants to face the same strict data security that financial institutions are subject to under the Gramm Leach Bliley Act), as well as H.R. 1941/S.774 and the “Financial Institution Examination Fairness and Reform Act”. In addition, she supports the continuedprotection of the credit union tax exemption status. She has also applauded credit unions for the efforts we play in the creation of jobs through small business lending.

NAFCU Logo

We are also actively involved in our national trade organization National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, where I have been privileged to be a member of the NAFCU Board’s nominating committee for the past five years.

Going forward our focus continues to be on enhancing our product and service offerings to meet the ever-changing business landscape and provide each member with a strong value proposition in being a member of our Credit Union. This is done through a consistent and responsible growth strategy.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff, we are grateful to our more than 49,100 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.


Respectfully submitted,

Scott Wilson Signature

Scott A. Wilson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Message from the President & Chief Executive Officer

Market diversification continues to be a long-term strategic goal of the Credit Union and one that has been emphasized by our Board of Directors for the approval for expansion into Vermont. This January we made strides to continue to meet this goal when we opened our first of three retail branches in South Burlington, VT. You can read more about it on page two of this publication. We are in the planning stages for our second branch in Essex, VT for this fall. Our third location will be in 2021 in St. Albans, VT. In order to continue SeaComm’s success, it is necessary to garner new members.

Today, SeaComm has a significant market share penetration in its current field of membership. New opportunity in a region which has been economically flat will over time make growth a challenge. Our strategy is to continue to diversify the markets in which we do business. This diversification will enable SeaComm to withstand certain economic anomalies which have or could be market specific. Our retail branch in Plattsburgh, NY, is continuing to grow and, after more than two years in operation, has proven to be an excellent location.

The Board of Directors in their decision-making process is committed to the fact that the exceptional member service our current members have come to expect will remain at the highest level as part of this planned expansion. SeaComm is also committed to staying true to our mission. In fact, to solidify that position, the Board, myself and the senior leadership team continue to make this part of our regular agenda for ongoing strategic planning discussions.

Iconic Toolbox

The Credit Union continues to be positioned for growth. Our retained earnings have continued to keep pace with our asset growth and we have an excellent capital position. This expansion will enable our Credit Union to grow and be financially sustainable well into the future.

Even though we are heading into new markets, we are still committed to our intended mission; and will be forever committed to our roots of taking care of all our members. It all started fifty-seven years ago in that iconic toolbox, and our focus on the details will ensure we stay consistent with those humble beginnings.

Financial Strength

BauerFinancial

Our financial position continues to remain solid. Year-end assets climbed in excess of $570 million, an annual growth of 4% year-to-date. At the same time, our net operating expenses YTD were at 2.12%, well below our goal of 3%. We finished the year with a net income of $6.2 million, garnering us more than $89 million in total equity. Capital remains a key component to our financial health, as it is necessary to maintain adequate reserves as our assets continue to grow. It ensures that we are able to withstand any uncertainty such as we encountered during the earlier part of the last decade. A new capital requirement has been approved by the NCUA Board and will be fully implemented by January 1, 2022. We are well positioned for that change.

We acknowledge that our excellent 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 our non-interest income streams as well. Our Personal Financial Advisor Services, which are available to any SeaComm member, continues to grow. Today, more than $37 million are under management.

Our financial strength continues to be nationally recognized. BauerFinancial, an independent rating company recently 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 and we are operating well above their regulatory capital requirements.

Service & Our People 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 do not 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 the retail area, as well as by the 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 happen.

Service Excellence Photo

At the end of each year, we calculate the overall average of every employee who received surveys on their delivery of service both externally and internally.

The top ten were Jeff Reynolds (2 consecutive years), Wanda Lanning, Rose Lapoint-Matthews (7 consecutive years), Erica Horan and Laurie French, Kim Holloway (2 consecutive years), Melissa Cree (3 consecutive years), Tab Ladison (3 consecutive years), Wendy Vatter (3 consecutive years) and Kathy Dunkleberg were recognized for their high achievement in this area. We are extremely proud of those individuals and the work all of our employees perform and their consistency in delivering exceptional member service.

We know why SeaComm is so successful. 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”.

Best Companies to work for in New York Logo

In mid-January, we received notification that we had been chosen for a tenth year in a row as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York for 2020. Our selection as one of the top mid-sized companies is based upon a confidential written 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 and planning, work environment, corporate culture and communication, as well as relationship with supervisor. We are extremely proud to be included within this privileged group.

Community Service

Community Service Photo

We do a tremendous amount for the communities in which we do business. Direct financial support and giving of our time through our “Do Some Good” program. The senior leadership team and myself make ourselves available twice a year to assist our local “Back the Pack” program, which during the school year offer snacks to tide students through the weekend. We are very proud to be a part of such a wonderful and important mission-driven organization.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff, we are grateful to our more than 48,500 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 you well into the future.


Respectfully submitted,

Scott Wilson Signature

Scott A. Wilson
President and Chief Executive Officer

SeaComm Federal Credit Union President/CEO Scott Wilson stopped by the Studio Lounge to discuss is "CEO of the Year" award (credit unions $250 million and up) presented at NAFCU's 51st Annual. Scott shared some of the reasons why he believed he won the award -- and, in typical credit union fashion, none of them had to do with him. He had heaps of praise for his team at SeaComm in helping him garner this award along with making his credit union a huge success for their members.

Watch his video interview with NAFCU as he discusses his 'CEO of the Year' award.

Read the CEO/CFO Magazine interview with SeaComm President & CEO, Scott A. Wilson.

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