4th Quarter 2020 Message

December 31, 2020
Dear Members:

On behalf of the Utilities Credit Union staff and Board of Directors, I hope your Christmas was joyful and your New Year is filled with happiness and prosperity following this very difficult year.
There’s nothing I can say about the challenges we’ve all faced in 2020 that you don’t already know. Life as we knew it changed in March. Most had to quit going into our work locations, instead having to work from home. Others who did continue to report to work had to deal with daycare and school cancellations and the problems that brought. And these are the lucky ones who are still able to have a job. My heart goes out to the millions of Americans who instantly lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Your UCU was not immune to these difficulties either. Our staff of four was reduced to two due to Carol Lueke’s retirement (congratulations Carol) and Jill Lamoureux’s decision go elsewhere to a full-time, benefited position. We wish her well in her new endeavour.
Despite the challenges, UCU had a good year financially. Through November, our membership remains at approximately 950, our assets are over $7 million, member share accounts are over $6.1 million and the loans to members total $3.3 million. The loans we make have been quality ones too, as our delinquency rate is only 0.03%, compared to our peer’s average of 1.66%. However, one area of significant concern to the Board is the $2.8 million of member share dollars that are deposited but not loaned out to other members. They are invested in safe, government backed investments, however interest rates are at historical lows, which in turn causes these investments to not produce very much income. While the dividend rates we have set and paid this past year have been gradually reducing, we were still able to establish competitive rates. The staff and Board will continue to manage income and expenses and declare dividends that maximize our members’ investments.
Another highlight of 2020 included the successful completion of a thorough audit of our financial books by the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Again this year the DFI found our records in excellent shape, both accurate and sound. As such, we received the highest rating possible that a credit union can receive.
If there is a positive to all the turmoil we dealt with this year, it is the effort the Board expended on planning and looking outside of the box for solutions to the issues we may need to address in the future. We are investigating a proposal which will completely change the interaction between the membership and the credit union. If successful, we will be able to offer a host of new services to members which will add significant value to your membership. We will be working diligently on this project through the 1st quarter of 2021 and communicating with all of you as we hit milestones along the way. Stay tuned.
Finally, the Board of Directors has not definitively set the date and time for the 88th Annual Membership Meeting usually held on the last Thursday in February in the Bays at the Xcel Energy Sky Park facility.  We will communicate that information when we know more about building access.
John R. Ness
Chairman, Board of Directors

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