President’s Message

Service Excellence Delivers Long-Term Benefits to America First Members

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

Dear valued members,

I feel fortunate and humbled to be a part of such an outstanding organization and I am pleased to report that 2017 was a period of significant accomplishment. Our credit union is strong, stable, and well-positioned for a bright future. We will work diligently to continue earning your trust and support.

Additionally, I am honored to report that Money Magazine recognized America First as Utah’s best financial institution; the following principles illustrate just four of the reasons why:

ValueWe endeavor to provide relevant products and services in a convenient and professional manner, simplify busy lives, and help members keep more of their hard-earned money.

To that end, we offer free checking, free 24/7 online & mobile banking, free nationwide ATM withdrawals, free educational seminars, free financial counseling, free credit scores, free document shredding events, free financial calculators and budgeting tools, as well as numerous benefits that recognize the value we provide.

Our Visa® cards allow worldwide transactions, deliver industry-leading cash back & rewards programs, and provide merchant-funded offers that generate additional cash. Using Visa from America First further brings free identity theft recovery services, account and fraud monitoring, real-time security, and free mobile device management, including the ability to turn cards on and off. Discounts for transactions made with our Visas are available at retailers, events, and recreational opportunities.

The credit union’s loan and deposit products consistently lead the competition in rate, flexibility and choice. We are the market’s number-one auto lender and rank among the best in RV and mortgage financing.

America First business members have a wealth of resources at their disposal, including SBA loans, lines of credit, Visa credit accounts, complete in-house merchant services, free checking, and many other significant advantages.

Encompassing a financial solution for every need, we also offer fully managed insurance, investments, health savings, retirement planning, wealth management, and trust services.

ServiceIt is our goal to establish meaningful lifelong relationships, serving our members how, where & when they choose.

In addition to a significant, multi-state network of 125 branches, America First creates an anytime, anywhere environment with award-winning online and mobile services, mobile deposits, telephone banking, live chat, and robust social and digital media platforms.

Loyalty, retention, and product utilization numbers remain among the best in the nation. Our Net Promoter score–a benchmark for evaluating service quality—is at a level attained by only the best of the best companies.

Throughout my associations and travels, it is not uncommon for individuals to share stories of how America First has served, supported, and benefitted them when they learn of my position with the credit union. It is extremely satisfying knowing we are improving the lives of those around us.

StrengthAmerica First demonstrates fiscal strength, stability, soundness and is independently rated among the best credit unions in the country.

Last year, we received positive results from a National Credit Union Administration examination and from an external auditing firm. When completed, we expect a similar outcome for 2017.

During turbulent economic times, such as the deep recession of 2008 to 2010, a lack of capital strength was often the root cause leading to the weakening or failure of a financial institution. This is not the case with our credit union, as America First closed the year with $912.3 million in capital, up 8.07% from 2016. Our net worth ratio is 11.11%, well above the federal regulatory requirement.

Net income totaled $93.4 million. Assets grew by 12.07%, ending the year above $9.2 billion—America First is now the 10th largest credit union in the nation in terms of this measurement.  Return on assets was a healthy 1.06%. Our membership continued growing at a healthy pace, closing 2017 at over 905,000. Deposits increased $893.4 million (12.39%) and loans grew by more than $1 billion, or 17.16%. Delinquencies rose slightly to .93%; however, the allowance for loan loss is more than adequate to absorb any portfolio deficiencies.

Our top priority is protecting members’ personal data, financial information, resources, and accounts. America First’s highly regarded information technology systems and networks are continually upgraded, enhanced, monitored, and secured.

HeartWe remain committed to improving our communities & schools, making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Examples of these efforts include supporting food drives, contributing thousands of personal volunteer service hours, and making meaningful financial contributions to worthwhile charitable organizations. We support schools, communities, children’s hospitals, financial literacy, educational scholarships, and dozens of projects that promote the greater good.

My deepest gratitude is extended to our volunteers and staff, all of whom are passionate about serving you and who remain sincere in their dedication to seek continual improvement. Most importantly, I express my utmost appreciation to you, our members, and reiterate our commitment to developing and maintaining a lifelong relationship with you and your family.


Guest Commentary: All Indicators are Positive for Continued Economic Growth

By Glen Olpin, Senior Vice President—Chief Economist

February of 2018 marks the 104th straight month of national economic recovery. This period of economic improvement may be the longest, yet weakest on record, but there are no signs of a slowdown on the horizon.

Utah and neighboring Intermountain West states are experiencing stronger overall growth than the national average. Nationwide strength in economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) was recently reported for 2017; we expect continued strength throughout this year.

Businesses have acted cautiously during the latest cycle of an improving economy; however, recent measures assessing the commercial sector show increased strength and confidence. We expect a favorable business services and lending climate to prevail in 2018.

Consumers have led the recovery and remain optimistic about the future. Utah and surrounding states are exhibiting strong employment growth and personal income is rising. Consumer spending has been solid and we expect to see continued strength in spending this year. There are some cautionary indicators, however, including consumer debt rising to pre-recession levels.

Inflation has been slowly trending upward since late 2015, but it does not constitute a threat to continuing economic growth; we are predicting inflation to remain in the 2% to 2.5% range during the coming year.

Short-term interest rates have slowly inched upward and are expected to rise by as much as an additional 1%. As these rates increase, long-term interest rates are expected to move moderately higher as well.

New and existing home sales have been healthy in the face of increasing prices. Housing and construction spending should stay robust. Real estate lending rates are also forecast to remain relatively low. These positive indicators are combining for an already favorable real estate environment to continue throughout 2018.

We have seen ongoing demand for automobiles and that trend is expected to continue. The need for America First vehicle financing is strong. We pledge to remain the leader in auto lending for our members.

Consistently low interest rates, a strengthening business environment, the wealth effect from increasing home values, continued fundamental vitality in the stock market, as well as the hope of reduced regulations and tax relief, are combining to increase consumer and business confidence in a growing economy well beyond 2018.

We expect this to be another successful year for America First Credit Union. We appreciate your membership and remain dedicated to serving your complete financial needs as we move forward together.

Our Promise is to Strive for Continued Excellence in Financial Services

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

As a new year begins, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the organization’s accomplishments during the previous months, as well as set goals and objectives for those to come. I made a list of personal benchmarks for myself and, so far, I’ve been reluctant to ask my wife what she thinks that checklist should really contain!

Your credit union performed very well in 2017. Several milestones were achieved, including the attainment of over $9 billion in total assets and more than 900,000 members. America First is the 11th largest credit union in the nation in terms of assets and the 6th largest in membership. We were honored to receive multiple awards and recognition from chambers of commerce, cities, and business groups, not the least of which was being named by Money Magazine as the best financial institution in Utah.

We certainly appreciate such positive recognition but, more importantly, it reinforces our dedication to the ideal of remaining relevant to our members’ financial needs in a changing and diverse landscape. Listed below are a few member comments that are representative of many we receive:

I believe your employees care for their members as people, instead of as income generators…Your service kept us at America First and will keep me [at the credit union] going forward.  Kudos to you for actually creating a corporate culture that stays true to your promise: Members come first. ~Virginia B.

 …I recommend [America First Credit Union] because of the care that I have received throughout the years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ~Tracy M.

I want to express my heartfelt thank you for the care and concern that Chad exhibited to my mother. [Because of] their conversation and his efforts, he was able to save my mother, who is on a very limited income, a lot of money. Thank you for having such great employees and an atmosphere that brings back the local friendly business that is as much a friendship as it is about business. ~Michael M.

I opened 3 accounts back in June. I was trying to get my credit straightened out to purchase a home. Aubrie was so helpful and gave me hope for what I thought was a hopeless situation.  I’ve since paid of much of my existing debt and my credit score has increased over 100 points. My old bank didn’t even have a suggestion for how to fix my credit problem. I thank [America First] and praise them for having great people like Aubrie! ~Online member feedback posted on November 21, 2017

For 2018, it is our desire and promise to continue assisting members to the best of our ability, providing beneficial products, services, and guidance that will improve and simplify your financial lives. Thank you for your trust in America First. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family & wish you a happy new year!

What Are Your Most Cherished Childhood Holiday Memories?

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

Every January, the entire America First management team gets together to kick off a new year, discuss our strategic plan and budget priorities, and generate enthusiasm for achieving future goals. I was addressing the group a couple of years ago at this event and, as an experiment, I asked for three volunteers to come forward. My request was quite simple, but came it as a bit of a surprise.

I asked each to share his or her fondest or most cherished childhood memory from Christmas or the holidays. None mentioned a bicycle, doll, or any other toy or gift. Without fail and with visible emotion, they all spoke of experiences with family, friends and neighbors they held dear. We heard of enjoyable times spent together; of games, laughter, delicious meals, and renewing connections with distant family members; and we learned how providing a surprise act of service brought joy. In short, they highlighted the value and enduring nature of meaningful relationships.

This simple exercise vividly illustrated what we truly value—positive relationships developed and strengthened over time. Although the nature of our affiliation is not as deeply personal, it is our desire at America First to develop a valued connection and relationship with each member we serve. Building such trust requires time, commitment, care, and providing relevant products & benefits that save you money and simplify your financial life. That is our pledge to all of you.

It is our hope that during this season and throughout the year, we will make the effort to remain optimistic, look for the good in others, do some good ourselves, and perhaps create a cherished memory for someone.

We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family. Please accept our best wishes for a merry Christmas and happy holiday season. Don’t forget to pick up your free 2018 calendar at any America First branch.

Remember the Meaning ‘Mail Call’ Has for our Veterans this Holiday Season

By John B. Lund, President & CEO

In November, we celebrate two national holidays, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. As citizens of this country, there is much for which we are rightly grateful, not the least being our veterans, who served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms, lessen tyranny & oppression all over the world, and provide hope to millions.

We at America First Credit Union recently had the opportunity & privilege to support and take part in an effort that benefits World War II veterans. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to recognize veterans for their immeasurable contributions. The network’s mission statement, in part, reads: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. To quote from their web site, Top priority is given to the senior veterans–World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

Of all the conflicts in recent memory, it was the Second World War that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 veterans of WWII die each day, meaning the time to share our gratitude with these brave men and women is running out.

This year, 26 veterans participated in the Honor Flight. I had the privilege of writing a letter on behalf of America First and from me personally that expressed appreciation for their service. This correspondence was included in a “mail call” the veterans enjoyed on their way home from Washington. Tears came to my eyes when I received and read the following note from one such hero:

Dear Friend/John,
I have just returned from one of the most memorable experiences in my life, an Honor Flight…This trip to Washington, D.C. included seeing the WWII Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Lincoln Memorial. Also, it was a very moving experience to visit Arlington National Cemetery. Although there were many enjoyable things that happened during this trip, one surprise stands out: MAIL CALL! Yes, mail call, just like we had during the war, with welcomed letters from home. One letter I received with great enjoyment was from you. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me, that you would take the time to send this note of appreciation for my service. Thank you so much! With Warm Regards,
Sgt. Charles “Fritz” Dolehi, U.S. Army Air Corps

Throughout the year, but perhaps most importantly during the holiday season, I hope we can all take the opportunity to give our veterans a cherished mail-call experience and thank them for their service. I and our entire team thank you for your membership in America First. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family.

Breaches & Identity Theft Are All Too Common—But We’re Here to Help You

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

Unfortunately, the news of data compromises occurring at merchants, large companies and most recently at Equifax, one of the three major credit-reporting agencies, is increasingly prevalent. Considering the Equifax incident involved nearly half the U.S. population—143 million residents—the chances of any given individual being affected are reasonably high. You can find out if this breach has impacted you at If your information is involved, there are steps you can and should take to protect your identity:

  • If you have an account with Equifax, change the password immediately. Be sure the new one is unique and not applicable to another site.
  • When you change a password, enable two-factor authentication when this feature is offered. Doing so will prevent those with malicious intent from requesting to reset your password, which would give them access to your account.
  • Monitor your credit reports. They are available from each of the three bureaus at no cost once a year. We also provide complimentary FICO® Scores, updated quarterly, through free online banking. Watch these indicators for negative movement.
  • Regularly review all your statements & transactions. Report potentially fraudulent charges immediately.
  • Be on the lookout for phishing emails that prompt you to click links or open attachments that are purportedly related to the Equifax situation. It’s also prudent to keep this in mind with any message you receive.
  • Identity thieves are additionally contacting consumers while posing as representatives of the credit bureaus. They will ask victims to provide personal information later used to defraud them. If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up immediately. If you need to speak with reporting agencies, contact them directly. This scam is sophisticated, with some caller IDs showing as originating from a bureau.

Your membership provides additional advantages that help safeguard your resources. Learn more about the following at

  • Identity theft recovery services—If you suspect you’re a victim of identity theft, contact an America First representative, who can establish a case to help minimize the concern and impact. It’s free if you carry our Visa® credit cards & it covers all forms of ID theft.
  • Card Guard® mobile security—This free, state-of-the-art app gives you complete real-time control of when, where, and how your America First Visa cards are used.

Data breaches are serious problems for consumers and businesses. Financial institutions have complied with strict security measures since the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed. However, retailers and other entities handling sensitive personal financial information are not subject to these same standards. We should all urge our representatives and senators to support comprehensive data security legislation.

Thank you for your trust in America First and for the opportunity to assist in your complete financial needs. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family.


By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

It’s September. The kids are back in classes, days are getting a bit shorter, and the harvest is on. We’re entering a wonderful time of year and I hope you’re enjoying it.

Each year, our management team establishes an internal theme we use as a principle focus and rallying cry for leadership and training meetings. Throughout 2017, our spotlight has been on Believe. This is a powerful concept, because we are guided and shaped by our beliefs, forming the foundation for the way we think, what we do, and how we live. There is undeniable power behind believing in something or someone.

We plant crops and gardens because we believe in and need the harvest. We go to school because we believe education will improve the future. Believing is the catalyst for action…or inaction. Therefore, what we believe can have a profound impact on our own lives and the lives of those who surround us.

One of the things I love about America First Credit Union is that we are a group who chooses to believe in each other and the core purpose of helping people. In January, I challenged the staff to renew and recommit to understanding and believing in our mission— improving the financial well-being of the membership. If we believe in ourselves & one another, follow through and work toward shared goals, our members will continue believing in us.

Thank you for your membership, loyalty, and the value you believe America First can deliver. We will work hard to retain this trust and look forward to a lifelong relationship.

Guest Commentary: Protecting & Enhancing Your Financial Health

By Rex Rollo, Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

I recently had the pleasure of appearing on a KSL Newsradio program to provide commentary regarding our financial environment and how it affects us. We discussed an article in a major publication that indicated the average American had increased his or her checking account balance by $2,000 over the last few years.

The host asked if I thought this was an indication of consumers across the country improving their financial health, and if the same were true for America First members. Although I could only speak in general terms about conditions nationally, I did verify that our membership has been taking steps to enhance their finances. Not only are checking account balances rising, we have also seen double-digit growth in a variety of our savings vehicles.

The America First mission statement relates that we are committed to providing superior services to the members/owners and that our chief concern is their financial well-being. Therefore, we work to ensure the financial health of our members because it guarantees the well-being of the credit union.

Through the first six months of 2017, there have been clear indications of our health and strength, including members and loans both demonstrating gains in the double digits. Our ever-increasing membership—now totaling more than 891,000—generates the necessary resources to provide services and deliver them in the manner members choose. Whether it’s through our expanding branch network, call centers, or free online & mobile banking, your credit union is always there to assist, how and when it’s most convenient for you. Additionally, our dedication to innovation and technology allows us to complete millions of transactions without compromising the security of your information.

I am happy to report that the financial health of America First is strong and continues to improve. Our assets have reached $8.9 billion—over a billion more than we held at the same time last year. Reserves are at their highest levels in years. More and more members are enjoying 24/7 access to their accounts and information via our mobile app. But the most important measurement I am proud to provide is the advancement in the financial health of our members. After all, you are the true capital of America First Credit Union.

United We Stand

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

I’m extremely fortunate to live in a small, rural mountain town where the air is clean, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are friendly, hard-working & service-oriented. Lovely patriotic scenes are painted on the sides of two local barns, illustrating pride of country and patriotism.

The community is also known for our annual Independence Day celebration held in and around the park. A flag-raising ceremony marks the sunrise, followed by 5K and 10K races, a delicious freshly cooked breakfast, and a parade around the town square. There are games for the kids, local works of art, crafts, a patriotic program, music, and lots of food is available throughout the day. Our Fourth of July culminates with a fantastic display of fireworks.

This year, my wife was asked to help with the planning and coordination of the parade. It is a real down-home event, featuring children on bicycles, family-decorated floats, marching school bands & cheer squads, vintage tractors and cars, American Legionnaires, horses, fire engines, police vehicles, candy tossed to the kids, and a local citizen being honored as grand marshal.

The parade theme for 2017 is United We Stand—three simple but powerful words. United means acting in harmony as a single unit. We is descriptive of a collective group. To me, Stand denotes life, accomplishment, being steadfast, integrity, and purpose. Individuals are different in many ways, but working together, we become much more powerful and better off as families, neighbors, communities, and as a nation.

I am so grateful for those who continue to stand united in preserving our freedoms, opportunity, peace, and security. To honor this great nation and our servicemen and servicewomen each summer is most certainly appropriate.

America First Credit Union was founded in 1939 by a group of 59 pioneering individuals who also stood united to improve the economic well-being of one another. Since those humble beginnings, generations of individuals, families, and businesses have benefited from superior financial services, better rates on loans & deposits, premier technology, many free or low-cost services, tremendous convenience, and a sense of belonging.

On behalf of the dedicated volunteers and staff of America First, I thank you for your membership, loyalty, and allowing us to serve your complete financial needs. We look forward to a lifelong relationship.

Cherish Great People, Great Times and Great Memories

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

It’s hard to believe 2017 is nearly halfway over. The year has brought some wonderful occurrences and I have much for which I am grateful. I also experienced significant sadness and heartache. Both my brother and my youngest sister passed away unexpectedly within a month of each other.

During Memorial Day weekend, I visited their graves and those of other loved ones. While doing so, I paused with appreciation to think of the good times, lessons learned, and recollections that will last forever.

Our extended family has vacationed on a houseboat at Lake Powell for many years. These are precious memories, cherished by all. I owe my brother gratitude for getting us there in the first place and keeping the tradition going for so many years.

My sister was tremendously charitable and knew how to care for those hurting or suffering. Decades ago, I had major surgery that kept me in a body cast for six months. She instinctively knew what I needed, just how to care for me, and for her I will always be grateful.

Reflecting on my family always prompts amazement at my maternal grandmother and the changes she witnessed during her lifetime. Born in 1898 and passing away in 2000, there are probably not too many folks who lived through three different centuries! She saw the first automobiles being developed, listened to the radio in its infancy, watched the first generation of TVs, endured multiple wars, and lived through the Great Depression. She was additionally there for the tremendous advances & progress our country made in science, medicine, space exploration, technology, and countless other areas. There were many trials in her life, but she always remained positive and optimistic.

When my grandmother was in her late nineties, I once asked her what attributes contributed to her longevity. Without hesitation, she said, “Don’t worry about things you can’t control; and if you need to shed a tear, do it quickly and move on.” What profound advice from such a wise woman. We all have family, friends, teachers and others who influenced us for the better. My advice is to thank them while you still can and continue honoring them by how we live.

At America First, our mission is to simplify our members’ busy lives, save them money, and be a positive contributor to our communities. We strive to be more than an institution that accepts deposits, processes transactions, and provides loans. We want to be your full-service partner, helping you realize your financial dreams. We can assist you in developing budgets, establishing systematic savings programs, and responsibly managing debt. When borrowing is necessary, we offer great rates and terms. Choose us for guidance to plan your retirement, gain insurance coverage, make transactions in the manner you prefer, get the best in Visa® rewards, benefit from free mobile banking, and accomplish additional goals.

Further enhancements and offerings will be announced over the coming months. Thank you for the trust you place in America First Credit Union. We will continue working hard to deserve a lifelong relationship with you and your family.