By Thayne Shaffer, President and CEO
Recently, I have been reflecting on my first days at America First Credit Union. From the beginning, I knew it was a special organization, and I quickly recognized that a strong, common thread wove through each meeting, strategy discussion, and decision. That thread was the shared desire and consistent effort to always do what was best for our members. It is one of the aspects I love most about our credit union, and a large part of what has kept me here for 33 years.
Much has changed throughout that time. As we have worked together to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date financial solutions to our members, I have seen everything from the addition of core services like checking accounts and mortgage lending, to the introduction and continuing enhancement of our many cutting-edge digital services.
When I began here in 1987, we had fewer than 150,000 members. Now, we have almost 1.2 million. Our branch network has grown with our membership, and our 128 and counting locations help us serve communities across four states. America First has been able to adapt in countless ways to best meet the individual needs of our members.
Incredibly, the pandemic of the last year and a half necessitated an even faster increase in our evolution. Like it did to most financial institutions, 2020 challenged us to find new, more flexible, more convenient, and more efficient ways to provide access to the financial resources on which you, your families, and your businesses rely.
Thanks to the forward thinking of our technology group, when the world unexpectedly began to shift, we were ready to serve you remotely through world-class online and mobile services. In addition, over the course of just a few short weeks, we had over 1,500 employees working from home—quadruple the previous number—further safeguarding the health and safety of our staff and members and protecting our ability to serve you.
Now as summer begins, it is a relief to see signs that our neighborhoods, businesses, and communities are becoming free to open back up. After a difficult year, we enthusiastically look forward to working even more closely with you to help you reach your current and future financial goals. The world of personal finance has grown increasingly complex and digital, and we are continually expanding our ability to let you interact with the credit union in the way that best works for you.
Despite the many changes America First has made over the years, one thing remains as it has always been: our sole focus is serving our members and helping to meet your unique financial needs. Our mission statement reminds us every day that our purpose is to provide financial services of a superior quality to you, our members and owners. Your financial well-being is at the heart of everything we do, and our commitment to you will remain constant, whatever the future may bring.