Just In Case You Missed It!


Hey folks, I don’t mean to be redundant here…but in light of our annual meeting that we held on March 25, 2009…just in case you missed it, I thought I would post my letter from our 2008 annual report. It just gives you a quick update on how things went last year and where things are in 2009. I was going to do a You Tube update and can continue in that format, if you prefer-but since this was already written-cut and paste seemed more simple to me.

Please let me know your thoughts…


What a year 2008 turned out to be!  We saw the greatest challenge to the banking system since the great depression.  Twenty-four banks failed in 2008 and so far 14 have failed in 2009.  Banks stopped lending money to both businesses and consumers in 2008, and the potential losses on their books continue to increase.  Therefore, the Federal Government passed a rescue bill to help prop up the ailing banks in 2008. The auto industry was hit hard as well. Both GM and Chrysler received government assistance in cash loans.  And while Wall Street came tumbling down, Main Street suffered.  Many people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment benefits, putting a strain on state agencies.  State government also has felt the impact of the banking crisis, with revenues falling as the economy continues to weaken. 


How did Hopewell Federal Credit Union do in 2008?  At a time when many companies ended the year in the red, Hopewell Federal was in the black, showing a net income of $90,447.  Although our loan losses were more than expected, they remained manageable. Loans outstanding to our members increased by $4.1 million in 2008 or 8.85%.  Your credit union continued to lend money to you, our members in 2008.  Our member deposits also increased in 2008 by $1.9 million or 5.9%.  Members recognized their member-owned credit union is here to help them get ahead financially. 


I am also pleased to tell you that while other financial institutions pulled back on their mortgage lending operations, Hopewell Federal had a record year.  Our mortgage loan officer was busy all year, helping our members get into a mortgage they could afford.  It is not our practice, nor is it good business, to put a member in a mortgage that we know they will not be able to afford down the road. 


Like many other companies today, we continue to keep a close watch on our cost of operations, while providing the quality service you come to expect from us.  It’s our goal to continue to offer “frosted mug” service to our members by exceeding their expectations. 


Although your credit union has weathered the storm in 2008, I must report this is not the case in our credit union movement.  The mortgage crisis that began in mid 2007 had an impact on our corporate credit union system, the credit union’s credit union.  There are twenty-eight corporate credit unions throughout the country.  These corporate credit unions provide natural person credit unions many services, such as item processing, investment and liquidity, and in some cases, plastic card programs.  Hopewell Federal Credit Union is a member of the Corporate One Federal Credit Union, located in Columbus, Ohio.  The corporate credit unions, including Corporate One FCU, belong to the US Central Corporate Federal Credit Union.  Some of the corporate credit unions have investments in mortgage and asset backed securities. These investments are impacted by the mortgage and banking crisis we are now facing.  What does this mean to Hopewell Federal?  It means if the corporate credit unions, especially the US Central Corporate CU, experience heavy loses on their investments, all credit unions with deposit guaranteed insurance from the Nation Credit Union Share Insure Fund, will be asked to help cover those loses. Credit unions are financially strong and will be able to help absorb these losses.  Never in the history of credit unions, going back until 1909, has the government needed to rescue credit unions.  No taxpayer dollars have been use.  Due to the uncertainly of the corporate credit union investments and the potential losses, our credit union, could experience a one time charge to re-capitalize the share insurance fund.  Our portion of this charge would be $397,774.  A charge of this size will result in a net operating loss for 2009. 


Your credit union is well positioned to absorb the share insurance charge, if needed.  Our regulatory capital is 8.5% as of December 31, 2008, and even with this charge, we would still be around 7.9%.   Our regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, considers a credit union “well capitalized” if their ratio is 7.0% or greater.  Neither the management team, nor the board of directors, is pleased with the thought of facing this insurance charge but realize that we must protect the credit union members’ deposits and our credit union movement. 


We are up to the challenges that 2009 will present.  We are able to meet the needs of our members and will continue to do so during these difficult economic times. 


I want to thank our volunteer directors and our supervisory committee members for their hard work in helping set the strategic direction for our credit union. It’s comforting to know that they have your best interest in mind. 


Thank you for being a member of Hopewell Federal Credit Union.  Together, we can accomplish so much and I ask that you consider doing all your banking business at your credit union in the future. 




Al Smith   

President & CEO


4 Responses

  1. Hi Al-

    I just wanted to take the time out to say, I’m finally starting to get hip with all of the electronic services you guys offer.

    I stopped by the Newark Office yesterday and while I never thought I would get used to those video tellers, they’re really great-and iwth the new no, hats or hoods policy, I personally wear a hat but think it’s nice that you’re putting our safety first.

    Sorry i missed the annual meeting, but I did happen to grab a copy of the report and I just wanted to say that with all of the negative thing you hear in the news it’s nice to know that my credit union is doing good stuff. I’ve been a member of hopewell for more than 15 years and while I’m not up to Twitter yet, it’s great to see that you all aren’t afraid to take new approaches to talk with us.

    I’m proud to be a member and glad to see that in these uncertain times hopewell federal is doing okay.

    • Wow! Thanks for the great words about your credit union and thanks for being a member. We try to do all we can to help our members get ahead financially.

      We took a chance on the video tellers but knew it was the best way for us to a branch to serve our members. And security is always a big factor in all of our decision. We want to provide a safe place for the employees to work and a safe place for members to do their business.

      Credit unions across the country are doing very well in these troubling times. I think it is because we are “not for profit, but for service”. We do not work for stockholders we work for our members. I told those in attendance at the annual meeting that our volunteer board and committee members do have the best interest of members at heart and take their responsibilities very seriously.

      Again thanks for your membership and please help spread the credit union idea to your friends and family.


  2. Al,
    I wanted to take the time to tell you about a wonderful experience I had at your Heath branch recently. I want to give a big thank you and a ‘hats off’ to Kristine and Elaine of that office. I had a little problem and came into get it resolved. During that visit I discovered that my problem was that I had a loan payment arrangement set up a little wrong. I feared the worst about possible repercussions with my credit. Elaine was the first to assist me with my concerns who then introduced me to Kristine who handled my situation wonderfully. I am very impressed with the level of care both associates showed me that day. Kristine made the changes to my payment arrangement that I needed and set my mind at ease. I haven’t been with Hopewell CU for many years, but I can say that Hopewell has earned my gratitude and trust for many years to come!


  3. Hello Brian,

    Thank you so much for your post. We always appreciate when we get kudos from our members. It’s a goal of mine and all of our employees to give our members “frosted mug service”. What’s that…you might be asking?

    Well, it’s like getting that extra something that you didn’t expect but really appreciated, like going to a fast food restaurant and getting your drink in a frosted mug instead of a paper cup. We strive to meet that mark everyday. However, we are human and make mistakes too. And as the President & CEO, it fills me with great pride, when I know that we have achieved that goal.

    I’m happy to share this post with our staff, in particular those that helped you with your situation. And we’re glad to have you as a member. If there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: