Month: April 2021

America First Credit Union Announces New Executive Management Team Members

Scott Ellis (left) is announced as new Chief Information Officer, Troy Stevenson (right) promoted to Chief Digital, Product & Retail Office and Missy Key is America First’s new CFO.

Riverdale, UT – April 29, 2021 – America First Credit Union announces the promotion of twelve of its staff to executive and senior-level management positions. Included in the staffing changes are additions to the c-suite including Scott Ellis as Chief Information Officer, Troy Stevenson as Chief Digital, Product & Retail Officer, and Missy Key as Chief Financial Officer.

With more than 40 years with the credit union, Ellis has risen from the procurement and controls department to Senior Vice President of Information Systems to his current promotion to CIO.  Stevenson has worked for America First more than 22 years in a variety of roles including Senior Vice President of Product & Business Intelligence and as a Market Research Analyst.  Key began her career at the credit union in 1988 as a Student Trainee in Member Service and most recently was Senior Vice President Controller and Risk Officer.

These promotions come after the retirement announcement of CEO and President John B. Lund, and selection of Thayne Shaffer, the credit union’s previous chief information officer (CIO) and acting chief financial offier (CFO) as Lund’s successor.

“I’m very excited to be passing the role of CIO to Scott, CFO to Missy and having Troy join our executive management team,” said Shaffer. “Together, and with all of America First’s employees, we’ll strive to continue to improve the financial well-being of our members and make a positive impact in our community.

In addition, the following people have been promoted to senior vice president and vice president positions within America First:

  • Zach Winegar, Senior Vice President Marketing
  • Craig Budge, Vice President Accounting
  • Brodie Cook, Vice President Product Management
  • Brett Greenwell, Vice President Member & Partner Relations
  • Andrew Qualls, Vice President – Chief Information Security Officer
  • James Romer, Vice President Data Science & Analytics
  • Kent Swenson, Vice President Information Systems
  • Tara Douglas, Vice President of Indirect Lending
  • Kymrie Turner, Vice President of Direct Lending

###

ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $15.6 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,184,290 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union Renews Multi-Year Partnership Agreement with University of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Renews Multi-Year Partnership Agreement with University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT – April 15, 2021 – America First Credit Union has renewed their multi-year partnership agreement with the University of Utah Athletics through Utes Sports Properties. With this move the Utah-based credit union becomes the Official Credit Union of Utah Athletics.

The partnership includes a top-tier sponsorship with the Red Rocks, one of the nation’s premiere women’s gymnastics teams and the PAC-12 regular season champions, who will be competing in the 2021 NCAA Championship in Fort Worth this weekend. The agreement also gives America First a presence at various athletic events including those help at Rice Eccles Stadium and the Huntsman Center.

Through this partnership, credit union members are able to select the University of Utah marks to proudly display on America First Visa® Debit and Credit cards. America First members that wish to include a University of Utah mark can do so by visiting AmericaFirst.com or any of their 128 branch locations.

“We appreciate America First’s unwavering support of the University, our hard-working student-athletes and our overall athletics programming,” said University of Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan. “The Utes’ corporate partner family is invaluable, and we’re grateful for those commitments. We’re look forward to continuing our relationship with America First Credit Union and seeing fans proudly carry a co-branded card showing their Utah pride and affinity.”

America First has been a long-standing partner of the University of Utah and has enjoyed a robust relationship and presence at University including seasonal giveaways and has awarded multiple $500 grants to students through the University Campus Store. As part of their involvement with the Crimson Club, America First proudly supports Utes with Wings by making an annual donation to help support their mission of supporting Utah female student-athletes.  In addition, since 2016 the credit union makes an annual donation to the University of Utah to cover tuition of its mascot, Swoop.

“America First Credit Union is always looking for ways to provide value to our members and enhance our communities and we’re thankful to be able to provide that through our partnership with University of Utah Athletics,” said Thayne Shaffer, AFCU President and CEO. “We’ll continue to invest in community members and organizations that support and inspire those in our community to always land on their feet, both literally and financially.”

Utes Sports Properties, which manages the America First Credit Union relationship on behalf of the university, is the locally based Learfield IMG College team solely dedicated to representing the Utes.

###

ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.9 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,176,375 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

Achieving Strong Results in a Tumultuous 2020, and a Bid of Farewell

Dear Members,

Without question, 2020 was an unprecedented time and will be recorded in the history books as such. A global pandemic, earthquakes, hurricane-force winds, civil unrest, and major economic challenges were among the significant issues to impact our lives. However, I can report that, literally and figuratively, America First Credit Union weathered last year’s storms and challenges very well.

Accessing financial services is essential to the well-being of individuals, families, communities, and our country as a whole. America First was well-prepared when COVID-19 arrived, and we responded quickly and effectively to keep our staff and members safe, while continuing our operations and support. We acknowledge and appreciate your patience and understanding during these demanding, complicated circumstances.

While other institutions closed branches, or limited service to drive-through windows, we kept 73% of our locations open, ensuring the membership could conduct business at physical facilities, with ATMs, and via live telephone support. We additionally enhanced our award-winning mobile, online, and web services that are available 24/7. Back-office operations were also adjusted and adapted to this new environment, with many working from home or in remote capacities. It was truly a remarkable team effort, and I express my utmost gratitude to everyone involved.

Despite the many obstacles, our performance during the year was outstanding. America First ranks among the top 10 credit unions in the entire nation. While such rankings are indicative of our commitment to excellence, what remains most important to us is how we serve each member individually, providing relevant financial solutions to meet their changing needs throughout their lifetime. With that in mind, presented below are three guideposts that drive our focus, as well as some accomplishments within these areas.

Lifetime Relationships

It is our desire to establish a meaningful and lasting association with those we serve. Through research and experience, it is abundantly clear that members who are using more of our products are satisfied, loyal, and happy. These findings provide us with confidence in our ability to deliver solutions that can simplify each stage of your financial life. Examples include:

Financial Literacy

  • Free financial seminars
  • Free financial counseling services
  • Financial literacy instruction at local schools
  • Free credit scores and products to assist members who are rebuilding
  • Interactive web-based and social media learning tools

Award-Winning 24/7 Digital and Online Services

  • Comprehensive online banking and web portal
  • Go-anywhere mobile banking, featuring remote deposits & bill pay
  • Apple, Android & Samsung Pay
  • No-fee ATM access
  • Zelle® person-to-person transfers

Branch & Telephone Access

  • 127 locations in multiple states
  • Toll-free phone access
  • 24/7 fully automated telephone banking

Your Financial Security

  • Free identity theft recovery and monitoring services
  • Free Card Guard® mobile app
  • Free direct deposits

Multiple Savings & Transaction Options

  • Youth and student accounts
  • Share, money market, individual retirement, certificate, and health savings accounts
  • Business and commercial deposit & transaction accounts
  • Business merchant account services
  • Diverse checking & debit card options

Lending

  • #1 auto lender in our region
  • #1 regional SBA lender
  • RV loans
  • Auto/RV research and valuation tools
  • Convenient on-site dealer financing
  • Mortgage, real estate, home equity, and construction loans
  • Low-rate Visa® cards with cash back & rewards
  • Lines of credit and overdraft protection
  • Business, commercial, and Payroll Protection Program loans
  • Personal and consolidation loans

Complete Financial Needs

  • Trust & retirement planning services
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • And more

Financial Strength & Integrity

America First is safe, sound, and independently rated among the best and strongest financial institutions in the U.S. We remain dedicated to ensuring the organization’s integrity and upholding the highest ethical standards.

Accordingly, our net worth equaled $1.410 billion at year’s end, up 10.29% from 2019 and closing at 9.78%. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), our federal regulator, considers 7.00% well-capitalized. Sophisticated capital planning techniques and models provide us with the ability to retain adequate capital positions going forward. America First additionally achieved positive/unqualified exam results from the NCUA and an independent external auditor.

Credit union assets increased 23.0% to $14.411 billion, with federal stimulus payments being a factor in this higher figure. Yearly net income exceeded $131.5 million, producing a healthy 1.00% return on assets. America First’s loan portfolio grew by 6.02% to $9.921 billion, while deposits were 25.06% higher to finish at $12.944 billion. The 2020 loan/deposit ratio ended at 76.69%, down from 90.48% a year ago. The high deposit growth and lessened loan demand resulting from the pandemic and economic retraction are the primary causes for a lower ratio. Our overall loan portfolio mix is diversified, has minimal interest rate risk, and reflects appropriate credit risk levels. Allowance for loan loss reserves are more than adequate to absorb any portfolio deficiencies.

Our key security priority is protecting members’ personal data, information, resources, and accounts. To this end, internal and external reviews take place regularly, as do enhancements, upgrades, and improvements to our information technology infrastructure, monitoring, and control systems. America First does not sell member information.

Strategic & Balanced Growth

Measured growth is essential to sustainability and risk diversification. America First’s field of membership is well-diversified geographically and socioeconomically, and we expect stable growth prospects in the future. For the year, membership rose by 7.03% to nearly 1.2 million. We are the region’s #1 credit union but, more significantly, we’ve developed deep and positive primary account relationships.

New branches opened in Murray and Vineyard, Utah, and in Las Vegas, Nevada. A business center in downtown Salt Lake City also premiered. After careful consideration, seven locations were closed. As 2020 ended, we had 127 branches in Utah, Nevada, Arizona & Idaho.

We are active in legislative and community affairs on local, state, and national levels. We believe it is imperative to be an outstanding corporate citizen and assist organizations working for the greater good. The America First Charitable Foundation therefore provides resources, service, and expertise to charitable organizations, non-profit entities, events, and many other worthwhile causes. Our employees and volunteers donate countless hours of personal time and effort to service outreach.

Genuine Gratitude and Farewell

My retirement is effective April 3, 2021. It is a great privilege and honor to have been part of this amazing organization for over 46 years, and to have served as President and CEO for the past eight and a half. I am blessed with the unwavering support of my wonderful wife and family, who have been vital to my career and who made it possible for me to undertake this incredible journey.

As I write my last report, I am humbled and have deep feelings of acknowledgment, beginning with the 59 pioneering individuals who formed our credit union in 1939, with clear vision and purity of purpose. I am the beneficiary of a true legacy built by former presidents Ray Hagen, Jim Dawson, Rick Craig, and the many wonderful individuals associated with each of them.

Special thanks to our dedicated & talented Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee, and other volunteers who willingly serve without compensation and with minimal recognition. This cooperative spirit truly sets us apart from other financial institutions.

It has been a pleasure to work alongside an incredible leadership group that is passionate about achieving exceptional outcomes and relevance in serving the membership. I am indebted to our staff team; they always strive for improvement and are focused on service quality in every task. Collectively, we appreciate the opportunity to serve and help individuals, families, and businesses improve their financial well-being. I am most thankful to you, the members, for supporting and promoting America First. Our pledge will always be to earn your trust, your business, and an ongoing relationship.

The Board of Directors named Thayne Shaffer as our next President and CEO. Having worked with Thayne for 33 years, I know he is a man of integrity, vision, and commitment. A Certified Public Accountant, Thayne has extensive finance, accounting, mortgage, information technology, and leadership experience. He believes in the philosophy of people helping people and holds dear the values for which America First stands. I wholeheartedly endorse and support Thayne and his entire team. The future is indeed bright and our credit union is in good hands.

Sincerely,

John B. Lund, President and CEO

America First Credit Union Expands Commitment to Elevating Financial Literacy Through New $5,000 Teacher Grant Competition

RIVERDALE, Utah – April 1, 2021 America First Credit Union announced today $5,000 in grant awards to K-12 teachers or school districts that build on their commitment to elevating youth financial literacy.

“Our goal is to make financial literacy easily accessible to educators and students,” said Thayne Shaffer, president and CEO of America First Credit Union. “All too often, teachers lack access to free and customizable programs. Our FUNDamentals program takes that challenge away, and this competition rewards teachers for rising to the occasion.”

To apply for one of the 10 $500 grants, K-12 teachers using FUNDamentals can share a picture of themself and/or their students using the program and complete a short nomination form, starting today through by April 30. Winners will be randomly drawn and will be notified by May 5.

The grants announced today will help fund projects for teachers. Teachers can request access to FUNDamentals by visiting www.education.americafirst.com. Additional information on the teacher grant programs can be found at www.americafirst.com/educators.

This effort is launching in April, during Financial Literacy Month, as organizations across the country conduct initiatives designed to improve financial literacy, especially among youth.

Today’s grant awards are the latest in a series of actions that the credit union has taken to elevate youth financial literacy.

In February, the credit union announced FUNDamentals, a customizable financial literacy program created for K-12 students and teachers. (CLICK HERE to read the announcement.) This free program empowers teachers and offers a customizable program, unlike many one-size-fits-all programming dictated by other providers.

###

ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.9 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,176,375 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jennifer.lopez@rrpartners.com