The following message was written by our Chief Executive Officer Marc Schaefer for our 2017 Annual Report.
As we reviewed our performance in 2017, we were cognizant that the past 65 years since we were chartered in 1952 -- in addition to improving the lives of tens of thousands of members along the way -- set the stage for our ability to carry out our mission into the future. If indeed the past is prologue to the future, Truliant has laid the groundwork to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of member-owners in future decades. Even as society and technologies advance rapidly, our commitment to aiding our members to make their best choices to build and strengthen their financial foundations remains at the core of our purpose. By not losing sight of our values and mission, we effectively convert rapid change into new opportunities for our members to excel in their life goals.
Our Member Financial Center network reflects the recognition that consumers of all ages prefer some interactions to be in person. While our mobile and online access is second to none – including the largest of financial institutions -- our member focus requires us to be available to communicate in the form and manner they prefer wherever and whenever possible.
As noted in this report last year, the banking industry remains unrelenting in its desire to remove access to credit unions for most consumers. They have attempted, without success, to leverage the tax reform process to attack the tax structure of credit unions. It’s important to remember that in addition to Truliant paying property and payroll taxes, our members pay taxes on the dividends we pay them (much like subchapter S banks).
Unfortunately, the banking industry’s history of taxpayer bailouts and a new tax-reduction windfall only seems to have whetted their appetite to remove the credit union option for consumers. Our members’ vigilance and the support we received from our elected officials have foreclosed the bankers’ self-serving attempts to deny consumers the choice of a viable credit union like Truliant.
They say that you get what you measure. At Truliant we are keen on measuring the ways that we are improving members’ lives. Our Member Delight Index tracks if members believe we have their best interests at heart (92% agree), if they feel they “are a part of Truliant” (84% agree), if they would recommend us to their family members and friends (93% would) and if they are satisfied with the way we serve them (93% agree). Ninety percent of members agree that Truliant has improved or is improving their lives, giving as their top reasons that we treat them with respect and value their business, and that we end up saving them money with lower loan rates and lower fees.
Specifically in 2017, we engaged members 163,450 times with our TruFinancial Check-up, covering 270,438 specific needs. We directly matched 148,317 needs. We explored our members’ key objectives -- or their “why” in life -- 34,035 times, uncovering 36,966 mid-range goals and 24,925 personal milestones.
Our proactive No-Cost Credit Review was provided 20,896 times, helping to improve access and guide members on how to lower the cost of credit. We provided $440 million in financing for 21,620 cars and $72 million for 481 first mortgages, and another $167 million in home equity financing.
These are numbers that represent how we help to improve our members’ daily lives, particularly as we lower their cost of credit and provide avenues for building savings.
We also helped our small business owners with $49 million in member business loans.
Fifteen new companies were added as Business Partners in 2017, extending our valuable services to 4,477 of their employees. With financial literacy at the heart of our mission, we conducted 25 financial education programs reaching 1,472 teens and young adults.
The Truliant Education Fund mentioned in last year’s report has been widely accepted and utilized by teachers and students to provide better financial education in public schools, grades 6-12, throughout our geographic footprint.
We are particularly mindful that many younger Truliant members are challenged by college debt and struggle to build credit histories, start families, purchase homes, and afford dependable transportation. Truliant is well positioned to provide low- to no-cost checking and debit accounts, low cost auto and home loans, and guidance in the genuine best interest of our members to help them build strong financial lives. Part of the legacy to our members from 1952 forward is the capital we can now invest in these younger members who lack some of the benefits of employment (like pensions) -- and the appreciation of real estate previous generations of members may have enjoyed.
None of this would be possible without the consistent and able support of our volunteers, including the Board of Directors, the Supervisory Committee and our Advisory Board. Our other key stakeholders are the more than 1,000 Business Partner companies that sponsor Truliant as a valued employee benefit and the many small businesses we serve.
Truliant remains a shining example of how consumers and small businesses can form and operate an institution that serves their individual purposes while also providing an impressive societal value to our communities. More than 65 years ago, a small group of individuals envisioned the value of collaborating to serve each other’s financial needs and those of their communities through a structure of self-help. Their hopes and dreams have been realized and, more importantly, will continue to bear fruit in the form of improving the lives of countless members into the future.