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 Utahâ€™s best financial institution; the following principles illustrate just four of the reasons why:
Value:Â We 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 VisaÂ® 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 unionâ€™s loan and deposit products consistently lead the competition in rate, flexibility and choice. We are the marketâ€™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.
Service:Â It 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 scoreâ€“a benchmark for evaluating service qualityâ€”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.
Strength:Â America 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 billionâ€”America First is now the 10th largest credit union in the nation in terms of this measurement.Â 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 membersâ€™ personal data, financial information, resources, and accounts. America Firstâ€™s highly regarded information technology systems and networks are continually upgraded, enhanced, monitored, and secured.
Heart:Â We 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, childrenâ€™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.