President’s Message

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

Guest Commentary: Resilience in Weathering the Economic Storms

By David Stacey, Senior Vice President—Treasury Services

 The recovering economy was abruptly upended last February when fears of an obscure virus infecting a remote part of China blossomed into today’s global COVID-19 pandemic. Contamination spread like a shock wave, halting the longest expansionary economic period on record. The Federal Reserve, U.S. Congress, and White House quickly united in a national nurturing effort, slashing rates, sending checks to most Americans, delivering benefits to those who were furloughed, and providing liquidity to businesses.

Nearly 21 million individuals lost their jobs between March and April, shaking consumer confidence and prompting families to reserve additional resources for the future, which boosted personal savings rates to record highs. Unemployment reached 14.8% in the U.S., although that picture has improved, with more than half of those people being back at work. However, regaining better employment numbers may occur at a slower pace going forward.

Consumer spending, although dramatically weakened, quickly recovered to pre-virus levels with reductions in service-related sectors such as hospitality and travel, but with elevated outlays in more durable areas like home improvements and recreational vehicle purchases.

Business production activity and capital expenditures are gaining steam, though output is still well below previous measurements. Long-term restructuring may boost expenditures, as lessons learned from work-at-home scenarios are evaluated and implemented into future growth strategies.

Timely coronavirus vaccine development has lifted markets and the clouds are beginning to part. Overall economic strength as measured by gross domestic product began advancing late in 2020 and will likely show more impressive vigor as inoculations become widely available and confidence is replenished.

Limited inventories and record-low interest rates, along with systemic changes in labor markets, have created a robust mortgage environment, as home price increases now exceed personal income growth for many.

Auto sales slipped somewhat last year, exposing COVID-19 influences such as preferences for working remotely, driving less, and saving more, but 2021 is expected to show modest improvement as the world starts unlocking and supply chains normalize. We also expect to see expanded spending driven by pent-up demand.

So, how will these trends affect America First and our members?

  • Virus cases continue rising, and vaccinations are slower than we hoped, but the worst of the storm has likely passed
  • Economic stimulus and government spending will provide long-term unemployment support
  • Consumer spending should increase as vaccine doses reach the general public and we’re pushed toward herd immunity
  • Consumer lending levels should gradually move upward
  • Lingering uncertainty will promote savings growth
  • We foresee continued low rates, especially in the short term, as the Fed keeps our economic runway clear of obstructions
  • Mortgage lending will likely remain vibrant until home affordability and higher rates start limiting borrowers’ capacity
  • Business lending should improve

In summary, there will undoubtedly be rain in the forecast, but 2021 should not present us with the ravening storms of 2020. The past 12 months have proven very difficult, but because of the resilient strength and stability of our organization, combined with valiant efforts from dedicated employees, our credit union stands strong and capable to meet your needs.

We look forward to good things in the year ahead.

America First Strives for Strength Through Adversity

Dear Members,

I think it’s safe to say 2020 will stand as a year none of us will soon forget. As I considered the events, challenges, and obstacles we faced over the past 12 months, the poem ‘Good Timber’ by Douglas Malloch came to mind:

The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a manly man

But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:

The stronger wind, the stronger trees;

The further sky, the greater length;

The more the storm, the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

Of many winds and much of strife.

This is the common law of life.

Certainly, these difficult times brought us “many winds and much of strife.” However, in different ways, such experiences helped unify our communities and added a measure of compassion and understanding to the way we interact with one another. I’m grateful for the growth we achieved, the new things we discovered, the manner in which we learned to adapt, and the progress we are making.

I truly appreciate our outstanding volunteers and staff; we are fortunate to have such dedicated individuals who are committed to serving the membership, while exerting diligent efforts to keep each other and all who visit us safe.

My sincere thanks are offered to you, our members, for being patient and understanding as we continue navigating rough waters. I’m proud to say our credit union is stronger and smarter than ever. We are ready, willing, and able to meet your complete financial needs. The America First team strives to simplify a portion of your life and earning your valued loyalty. Our goal is working hard to develop & maintain a lasting relationship with you and those you love.

Sincerely,

John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

While Seeming to Have the Least, Some are Offering the Most

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

We have all probably experienced seeing someone in need, but may have felt helpless, lacking the resources or ability to intervene. We also likely know others who find a way to lend comfort, no matter the circumstances. One such person is named Dale and, with his permission, I will share some of his story.

Dale has faced many significant challenges and knows what it’s like to be desperate, out of work, without transportation, lacking hope, and fearing what comes next. He battled substance abuse and addiction for over 20 years. A farm-related accident left him seriously injured, spending 56 days in the hospital and another six months in a wheelchair.

While never technically homeless, Dale is familiar with sleeping in barns, vehicles, and temporary shelters. He gives much of the credit for turning his life around to the fine people in his community and church. They offered support, hosted him for dinner, provided counseling, training, and assistance in gaining employment & housing.

He now resides in the central part of Ogden, Utah. Going about his daily activities, Dale not only noticed but befriended many in the homeless population. He quickly recognized there wasn’t much he could do to address the many issues they faced; however, he still wanted to make a small difference in their lives.

With cold weather on the way, Dale decided to gather warm clothing, reaching out to those who had offered him so much when he was at risk. Using email, texts, social media and word of mouth, there was an outpouring of donated blankets, coats, sweaters, boots, socks, gloves, hats, backpacks, and more. The contributions were amazing and much was accomplished to brighten the day and season for these deserving individuals.

My wife approached Dale to thank him for giving so many of us this service opportunity. She was touched by his response. First, he was humble about organizing the effort, saying he learned firsthand from his friends about thinking of others rather than himself. For those who are homeless, he explained, “it’s a struggle to stay warm and clean. They want self-respect like everyone else.”

Dale’s compassion was strongly evident to my wife. He said that during the summer, if he ever had a little extra money, he would buy cold drinks and hand them out. “The drinks they find on the street are usually warm and not very good, but a cold soda was so much more refreshing and made them feel more normal.”

I feel personally blessed to count Dale as a friend and I’m honored to learn from his example. I was reminded to put myself in another’s shoes and recognize the positive influence we can have if we just try. This is a special season, one in which we tend to think more of others. Just as Dale has, I hope we can all be more sensitive to and considerate of those around us, not only during this time of celebration, but throughout the year.

Our mission at America First is to improve the membership’s financial well-being, stay relevant and sensitive to individual needs, and serve you in the manner that best suits your situation. We remain committed to this ideal and look forward to a lifetime relationship with you and your family. Happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and meaningful new year.

Giving Thanks In the Most Difficult of Times

A fellow America First team member recently shared with me a letter written by his great-grandfather in 1918. The correspondence was sent from one brother here at home to another who served in the military during World War I. The brutal and bloody conflict, more than four years long, resulted in some 22 million deaths.

That same year, a terrible influenza virus gripped the planet, lasting over two years and infecting 500 million people—one-third of the world’s population—with 50 million dying from the disease. It’s nearly unthinkable that people would have to face both a world war and a worldwide pandemic.

I felt impressed to share a few quotes from this letter:

‘eight down and no help…’ This refers to all seven of his children and wife having the illness, his wife being sick for 28 days. Fortunately, they all recovered.

‘everybody…scared to death…went it alone’

 ‘I guess folks have told you about all the ones [who] have died…’

‘fought awful hard to live…’

‘Out of work…hoping I can go back’

Some other terms caught my eye: quarantine, careful, hope, happy now.

The letter was truly enlightening, helping me appreciate that generation to an even greater degree. It’s hard to imagine being in quarantine, out of work, your entire family ill, and having little if any help.

Some 100 years later, we are dealing with another pandemic and, while we are not at war, there is an abundance of violence, civil unrest, and uncertainty. Today, we share similar worries, fears, emotions, and challenges. Fortunately, for the most part, we don’t have to go it alone. Communication, health care, and other services are more readily available. Just like this wonderful great-grandfather, we must continue our vigilance, which will bring us hope and the ability to achieve a sense of happiness. I believe a key to being happy is thankfulness.

During November, we celebrate Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. Even amid our difficulties, we do have much for which to be grateful. I am truly thankful for the country’s veterans and all who protect our freedoms and values; I’m grateful for those who are working so hard to put an end to the pandemic. I’m appreciative of our members and their loyalty to America First. We pledge to continue providing relevant financial help and solutions, no matter the circumstances. We’re here to help, and we look forward to a lifetime relationship with you and your family.

All the best to each of you,

 

 

President & Chief Executive Officer

 

During These Uncertain Times, You’ll Find People Helping One Another

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

What a year 2020 has been. The pandemic continues causing a high degree of sadness, illness and death. Unemployment remains high, businesses and the economy are being damaged, many facets of our lives are disrupted, and civil unrest is unfolding across the country—we all face additional stress and worry.

If this weren’t enough, we experienced both unseasonably low and high temperatures, gale-force winds, fires, smoke, and other weather-related challenges. It’s certainly shaping up as a time for the record books.

Mr. Rogers, however, would probably have something to say about all the helpers being out there, no matter the circumstances. Fred M. Rogers created and hosted the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001, an incredible 895 episodes. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997, more than 40 honorary degrees, and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999. He had a unique ability to discuss hardship, personal difficulties, tragedy, and other problematic issues in an open, caring, and educational manner; all this while providing comfort, perspective, and hope.

Mr. Rogers is quoted as saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” What a wise woman, offering such simple yet powerful advice. Rather than being overwhelmed with what’s bad in the world, look for the helpers delivering care and support.

Perhaps more importantly, each of us is and can be a helper. There are instances when such assistance is clearly evident and noticeable, but oftentimes it’s more subtle and not seen at all. There are moments when we benefit from helpers, and occasions when we, in turn, offer help. This year has thrown us many curveballs, but we have witnessed the best in one another emerge, no matter the obstacle.

Our mission is to help improve your financial well-being, while simplifying complex and busy lives. The credit union is strong. A dedicated staff and volunteer team works hard to ensure our products and services remain relevant to and are helpful for your changing needs. We appreciate your membership and look forward to a lifetime relationship.

In Challenging Times, We Are Stronger Together

Dear Members,

We can probably all agree that this spring and summer have been seasons without comparison, as we work to navigate troubled and uncharted waters. People around the world are anxious for some good news regarding a vaccine or an effective form of COVID-19 treatment. I am confident our scientific and medical community will eventually prevail.

I want you to know how profoundly grateful I am for the America First team of volunteers and employees. Each day, they are adapting to and meeting members’ changing needs. It’s been inspiring to watch and be part of such an amazing group sharing a common purpose. In the end, we will be stronger and more fortunate as we pull together.

We are vital and secure. Despite the challenges posed by the economy and within the communities we serve, America First remains fiscally strong and in a positive position for the future. We’re dedicated to improving your well-being and simplifying your financial life.

We are moving forward. We have undertaken efforts to improve and broaden our digital capabilities, while keeping a commitment to serving you in the manner that best fits your circumstances. If you haven’t tried our mobile and online banking platforms, I encourage you to do so. The systems are robust, user-friendly & convenient, providing complete money-management capability according to your schedule. Our expansive ATM network also offers 24/7 access to funds and many can take deposits. Please visit us here, call 1-800-999-3961, or stop by a local branch to learn more about our industry-leading electronic services.

We greatly appreciate you choosing America First and look forward to a lifetime relationship.

Sincerely,

John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Guest Commentary: Weathering Financial Storms to Preserve Our Collective Health

Rex Rollo – Executive VP / Chief Financial Officer

By Rex Rollo, Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

In the mid-17th century, Benjamin Franklin said, “Some people are weatherwise, but most are otherwise.” Such disciplined attention to everyday events helped Mr. Franklin navigate life during stormy weather, and his sentiment illustrates that planning for the future is a key principle of long-term success. I think Ben would agree the best time to make sure you have a good umbrella is while the sun is still shining.

As we and our members have faced COVID-19’s economic fallout, America First has benefitted from preparations we’ve been making since the Great Recession, working to increase the size and strength of our reserve umbrella to temper future storms.

While the pandemic continues raging, we utilize these reserves to help those caught in the middle of the disturbance. America First has waived fees, offered short-term loans, provided payment-skipping programs and more, giving members additional time to adjust their financial situations.

Many wisely adapted to our digital channels for transactions, deposits and complete account-management needs. This has been effective in preserving staff safety by limiting branch activity and allowing visitors to keep appropriate distance. Taking advantage of government stimulus to build savings, pay loans in advance, and restructure financing has also been a wise fiscal strategy employed by our members, who are reevaluating their spending and budgets to maintain stronger positions.

At this midyear point, after enduring a full quarter of COVID-19, we are doing everything possible to build trust, just as we endeavored to do in the recession a decade ago. Earnings will naturally fall in the months ahead, as we add capital to ensure ongoing security. We are forging ahead, with yearly growth goals being met or exceeded. Prudent planning has dictated that we slow project expenditures, adjust revenue outlooks, and take cost-cutting measures. Indicators show we are seeing positive results and we’re committed to continuing these efforts.

Because of our preparation and diligence, we will weather this storm in good fashion. I believe Citizen Franklin would consider our guiding motto of people helping people to be “weatherwise” rather than “otherwise.”

America the Beautiful

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

I think it is safe to say this has not been the year any of us expected. With everything that has happened, it feels like we have had a decade’s worth of newsworthy and challenging events packed into just the last six months. Almost overnight the threat of COVID-19 transformed our routines, communities, businesses & economy, and permeated so many aspects of our lives. Concepts like social distancing, being apart together, flattening the curve, and working from home have entered our common lexicon. Civil unrest on a scale we have not seen in decades has been at the front and center of public discourse. Conversations about our shared hopes, concerns, and what freedom means to each one of us are taking place in the U.S. Capitol, our statehouses, on social media, at public gatherings, and around countless dinner tables.

Still, despite the challenges we are facing, I am optimistic about our future. Because if there is one thing our shared history has proven again and again, it is that Americans can rise together to meet any challenge, face any trial, and overcome any obstacle. We are not a perfect nation and we are relatively young by the world’s standards. But we are a nation of incredible people, innovative thinkers, and ennobling ideals. We cherish our independence and honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to safeguard it. We love our wild spaces and carry a bit of that wild, untamable spirit with us. We disagree, debate, and opine, but when life’s storms strike, we show up in droves to repair, rebuild, lift, and love. We are the product of the beautiful and ever-evolving dream of hundreds of millions, and I know of no place on earth where such a diverse collection of people is more committed to becoming better and working together to build a society in which everyone has the opportunities, resources, and encouragement they need to make the most of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Throughout almost 250 years together, we Americans have defined ourselves by the way we improve, overcome, and ultimately become stronger than we were before.

As members of America First, our unity of purpose is also deep and enduring. And as a credit union, we are driven by our passion for serving our members, and by our commitment to helping each one of them to improve their financial well-being and to withstand whatever difficult times life brings.

Thank you for your membership and loyalty. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with each of you.

An Unyielding Dedication to Serving and Improving Your Financial Health

Dear Members,

On behalf of the America First staff and volunteer team, I am honored to deliver an accounting of your credit union’s achievements in 2019. We greatly appreciate the support, loyalty, and trust of our membership. As an organization, we endeavor daily to ensure relevant and affordable financial services are provided in a convenient, professional, and personal manner.

We celebrated our 80th anniversary on March 16, 2019 and closed the year as the nation’s 9th most substantial credit union in terms of assets; America First ranked 5th in number of members. I often wonder what the 59 founders would think of our progression and success. Although much has changed since 1939, one constant, core purpose remains: improving the members’ financial well-being.

By every measurement, it was an outstanding 12 months. More importantly, our commitment to America First’s long-term health and vitality is strongly evident. With this in mind, we continue focusing on three pillars forming the nucleus of our strategy, budget, and operation: 1. Lifetime member relationships, 2. Financial strength & integrity, and 3. Strategic, balanced growth.

Lifetime Relationships

Our mission is to serve the membership’s needs, help simplify lives, and enhance financial wellness. Indicators suggest we’re doing a good job—our loyalty, retention, product utilization, and net promoter benchmarks are among the best in the U.S. This positive differentiation of products, designed according to each life stage, is essential to develop and maintain productive, long-term relationships. Among our priorities are:

Financial Literacy

  • Free financial seminars & training opportunities
  • Free financial counseling services
  • Financial literacy instruction at local schools
  • Free credit scores and programs to assist members who are rebuilding
  • Interactive web-based learning tools
  • Social media tips, updates, and financial education

Award-Winning 24/7 Digital and Electronic Services

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

Transactions, Deposits & Your Security

  • Free identity theft recovery and monitoring services for credit cardholders
  • Free Card Guard® mobile app
  • Free direct deposits
  • Youth and student savings
  • Share, money market, individual retirement and health savings accounts
  • Low-rate Visa® options, including rewards & cash back
  • Business and commercial deposit, transaction accounts
  • Merchant account services

Lending

  • #1 auto lender in our region
  • RV loans
  • Auto/RV research and valuation tools
  • Convenient on-site dealer financing
  • Mortgage, real estate, home equity & construction loans
  • Lines of credit and overdraft protection
  • Business, commercial, and SBA loans
  • Personal and consolidation loans

Complete Financial Needs

  • Trust services
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • And more
Financial Strength & Integrity

Each year, we hear of businesses that are disrupted, fail, quit, are acquired, or otherwise disappear. Often, this is caused by inadequate fiscal reserves, loss of discipline, and/or lack of integrity. I am pleased to report that America First is safe, sound, and independently rated among the best and strongest financial institutions in the country; our commitment to ethical standards and integrity is unyielding.

Accordingly, our net worth equaled $1.279 billion at year’s end, up 11.82% from 2018 and closing at 10.92%. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), our federal regulator, considers 7% well-capitalized. Our strong net-worth position engenders health during the ups and downs of economic cycles. America First additionally achieved positive/unqualified exam results from our regulator and an independent external auditor.

Credit union assets increased 13.47% to $11.713 billion. Yearly net income exceeded $135 million, producing a healthy 1.21% return on assets. America First’s loan portfolio grew by 11.09% to $9.358 billion, while deposits were 13.76% higher to finish at $10.343 billion. The 90.48% loan/deposit ratio demonstrates prudent use of funds while allowing for adequate liquidity. The 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 top priority is protecting members’ personal data, information, resources, and accounts. Internal and external resources review, upgrade, and monitor IT systems. America First does not sell member information.

Strategic and Balanced Growth

Growth is an essential element of sustainability. Entering new markets, welcoming new members, developing new services, and broadening existing relationships is important to diversifying. Growth for its sake alone is problematic, but balanced advancement is vital.

America First’s field of membership is well-diversified geographically and socioeconomically; we expect stable growth prospects going forward. For the year, membership rose by 8.79% to nearly 1.1 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 West Valley, Utah; Rexburg, Idaho; and Las Vegas, Nevada, with more planned for 2020. After careful consideration, two locations were closed. In addition, a merger with a small Provo, Utah-based credit union was completed. As 2019 ended, we had 131 branches with locations in Utah, Nevada, Arizona & Idaho.

To protect our relevance in an evolving marketplace, we’re active in legislative and community affairs on local, state, and national levels. We believe it’s imperative to be an outstanding corporate citizen, encourage financial wellness, and lend support to organizations working for the greater good. To that end, the America First Charitable Foundation provides resources, service, and expertise to food drives, Warm the Soles of Kids programs, the 100% For Kids Credit Union Education Foundation, Souper Bowl of Caring, and many other deserving causes. Our employees and volunteers donate countless hours of personal time and effort to service outreach.

Once again, I express my utmost appreciation to all the dedicated individuals who are devoted to continual improvement. I am grateful for the members who support and promote our credit union. America First is well-positioned for a bright future.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

John B. Lund, President and CEO