I am pleased to report that despite a year of great volatility and economic uncertainty, UNFCU continued to thrive. The state of our financial cooperative is strong. While UNFCU’s year-end results for 2011 will be formally announced at our 64th Annual General Meeting on 21 June 2012, I would like to provide you with a few, unaudited top-line figures, which are not likely to change significantly.
UNFCU remains well-capitalized, profitable and resilient, achieving a healthy capital ratio of 9.48%, which is in excess of industry standards. The institution ended the year with USD 3.5 billion in total assets, making UNFCU the 28th largest federal credit union in the U.S. out of more than 7,200 nationwide. We also crossed the billion dollar mark in outstanding mortgage loans and saw total loans grow 4.83% in 2011. Having continually worked to improve efficiencies, we processed more than 200,000 outgoing wire transfers for over USD 2.8 billion for our members, up 13% from 2010.
In 2011, over 6,500 new members joined UNFCU with three quarters residing outside the U.S. This is a testament to our Call Centre, representative offices and branches, business development efforts and technology offerings from an enhanced Internet Banking platform, website improvements, and Skype access, just to name a few developments. We also opened more than 800 life insurance policies in just two months, with the new credit card-based term life program. We recognized a need, particularly for members who could not otherwise obtain life insurance, and became a financial pioneer towards this end.
Our fiscal house is in good order because of prudent and responsible lending and investment policies, and a sound business model, which has established UNFCU as a financial cooperative built to last. As we enter the second quarter of 2012, I would like to ask you – how organized is your financial house? Are you ready to meet challenges ahead? For example, moving to a new country or the prospect of retirement? “Getting Your Financial House in Order” is often the subject of personal finance columns in traditional, online and social media. However, is it an action item on your own “To Do” list?
In reviewing my records recently, I realized that I did not remember the beneficiaries that I had established on my UNFCU accounts more than 20 years ago. I encourage you to check these essential documents routinely to ensure that you are prepared in the event of an unexpected occurrence, making sure as well that your accounts and estate planning matters are in sync. Central to this point, if there are no beneficiaries to the estate, accounts at financial institutions may continue with the assets indefinitely unclaimed.
As many of you are aware, UNFCU routinely assists members to overcome the often daunting task of organizing and staying connected to their financial lives. According to our knowledgeable staff, it is at life’s checkpoints, such as entering or retiring from the UN system, marriage, divorce or the birth of a child, which indicate the time to take stock of your situation and re-evaluate your record-keeping. Moreover, conducting transactions on your account(s) at least once every two years will allow UNFCU to keep your membership active.
Have you considered long-term care insurance, estate planning or getting your whole family involved in a financial fitness routine? Auto insurance policies that provide comprehensive coverage with liability protection and international insurance represent other fundamental, emergency preparedness tools.
Taking a cue from Facebook, many of us realize the opportunities afforded by staying actively engaged in conversations. From a financial standpoint, learning time- tested approaches as well as new ways to plan ahead can prove just as stimulating – and perhaps even life-changing. And back to updating beneficiaries, a Q&A item in Connections offers information on the essentials.
Let us all start taking our best laid financial plans beyond the best intentions phase. The ongoing choppy marketplace and the uncertainty of financial conditions globally behoove everyone to strive to take control, remove the clutter – update and renew! On a key administrative front, I want to remind you that the Nominating Committee is currently putting together their slate of candidates to run for the Board elections, the results of which will be announced at the Annual General Meeting in June. Please exercise your right as a member to vote for the candidate of your choice when you receive your ballot. Your vote can make a difference.
The Board invites you to provide feedback on any issue, or question that you may have regarding UNFCU. Please send your comments and suggestions to the Board either to our email or by letter to Chairman of the Board, UNFCU, Court Square Place, 24-01 44th Road, Long Island City, NY 11101-4605, USA.
Alan M. Potter