An Open Letter to Our Members
March 28, 2020
I’m writing to you, our members, to share important updates as our state and nation grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union stands by our members experiencing financial hardship at this time, and we are offering assistance to those impacted.
We offer our prayers for members and their families hurt in any way by this pandemic. We encourage all members to continue looking out for each other in the days and weeks ahead. After all, our faith-based credit union would not exist if members did not first band together and pool their resources to help their neighbors.
Our 66th Annual Meeting was scheduled for this past Thursday, March 26. We unfortunately had to postpone this event and are planning to hold it at a later date.
Still, you should know today what I had prepared to share with our membership during the Annual Meeting and how it relates to current circumstances.
Given the uncertainty within Ohio’s and our nation’s economies, you likely have seen updates from banks and credit unions that all deposits are federally insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor.
Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union is a federally insured credit union. According to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), credit union members have never lost a single penny of insured savings at a federally insured credit union.
Here is what I wish to stress today: Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union is well-capitalized and in a very strong position to absorb the negative economic consequences from COVID-19. Not every financial institution can say that with confidence.
Looking back just in the past month, very few people could have predicted the harsh economic consequences coming to the United States resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But we’ve been preparing for this situation for years. And I’ll explain how.
As Chief Executive Officer and President, my first obligation is to be a steward of our members’ funds. That means working directly with Board Members and Senior Leadership to ensure our credit union is not taking ill-advised risks in areas like lending and investing. It also means prudently growing our credit union to avoid overextending ourselves. From the time I joined the organization in 2010, I have intentionally made decisions in that spirit of stewardship. That is why Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union rests on a strong financial foundation today.
It is well known that the best time to prepare for a rainy day is while the sun is shining. So during the last several years of steady economic growth in the United States, Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union has worked to outpace our peer credit unions in many key financial stability ratios. The results are clear.
Our capital ratio has continued to grow. We ended 2019 with our capital ratio at another historic high of 14.10%, which is considered well-capitalized. It is also 20% higher than the peer average. Those are the most important numbers you should take away from this letter.
In terms of earnings, Ohio Catholic’s average return on assets ended at 1.22% while the peer average was at just 0.72%. Our return on equity is an impressive 8.98%, 16% higher than last year’s number – and is over one-third higher than our peers. Finally, net worth growth remains strong at 9.7%.
In 2019, we lent over $50.3 million dollars to members and Catholic organizations. That’s over a $5 million increase from 2018 and an all-time record. Our assets, deposits and loan portfolio all grew – just as they have consistently grown over the past eight years. We’ve done all this in a highly competitive and increasingly crowded banking industry.
Significant banking technology investments and upgrades we have made within the past several years are paying off today. Members can securely access their accounts online and in our mobile app to make transfers, pay bills, deposit checks remotely and more. These upgrades are extremely timely as more members manage their finances from home in this era of “social distancing.”
And in keeping with our “tithing” tradition – our commitment to donate 10% net income back to the Catholic community – we gave over $180,000 in scholarships, donations and grants to Catholic member schools and parishes in 2019. You likely know about or are members of the parishes, schools and non-profits in Northeast Ohio which have benefited from our spirit of giving to the Catholic community. Your support of our mission allows us to provide these impactful funds for faith-based communities.
There are other key financial numbers, highlights and news from the past year that I could not include in this letter. I would encourage every member to view our 2019 Annual Report to learn more.
In closing, I have to thank many special people who are responsible for our credit union’s sustained financial growth and stability.
To our employees: thank you for your dedication, your hard work and your “IMPACT-ful” contributions.
To our Board & Supervisory Committee Members: thank you for volunteering your time and your talents towards overseeing our credit union’s growth and stability.
And most importantly, THANK YOU, OUR MEMBERS. Your trust and loyalty has fueled both our impressive growth and the stability we enjoy in this time of uncertainty.
You make up Ohio’s largest faith-based credit union and that should be a point of pride for each member reading this letter today.
Chief Executive Officer / President
Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union