As we start another year, I wanted to share with you my insights on what we accomplished as a team in 2018.
The credit union continues to be healthy with strong earnings and we continued to grow net worth. For you non-financial types, net worth is the credit union’s savings account for a rainy day. We have grown net worth to over 14%, which is well above the required 7% identified by NCUA as a safety and soundness indicator.
While we have always had a service focus, in 2018 we decided we needed to up our game. In 2018, we set out to engage the entire workforce on improving service delivery by establishing a measurable service goal, shared for the first time ever by all employees. This goal included the employees you see in our branches and talk to on the phone, as well as those that work behind the scenes. There are times when multiple employees across many functions are needed to fulfill your request. In 2018, we worked to make this as invisible to you as possible to ensure everyone works together to improve the service delivered to you—our members. I am pleased to tell you we set a member survey rating of 4.60 stars out of five (92%) and finished the year at 4.67 (93%), which is an improvement over the prior year. This is the result of our 850+ team members working together to improve processes, remove friction, and deliver service to you better than we ever have. We are not done. We have set a goal for 2019 and we will drive our service to meet that goal.
We accomplished many things along the way, including improvements to our mortgage process, auto process, and debit card process. We read every survey that is submitted and look for areas we can improve.
2018 was also a year of simplification for SCCU. We consolidated some account types and discontinued others that were not used by many members, which allowed us to make the new account opening process more efficient. This simplification took place with our savings and checking accounts. We added tiers to our interest-bearing accounts as well so those that have more on deposit will receive higher interest rates.
We retired our outdated Member Rewards program in favor of reduced fees for all members, which resulted in $2 million being given back to the membership. Our goal is to continue to add value product by product so you will want to have all of your accounts with SCCU, and we aim to make it easy for you to enjoy the benefits of membership. In retiring this program, we realize some rewards that benefitted a small segment were discontinued, which is disappointing. However, we believe the best way to reward member loyalty is through better pricing. In 2018, we increased deposit rates multiple times on our savings, checking, money market, and CD products, earning members more dividends, and we continue to offer low competitive loan rates.
We continued our quest to come together as ONE SCCU, and made many changes internally to how we operate to ensure our employees feel valued and never want to work anywhere else. We are just getting started, but 2018 was our best year when measured with employee retention. Employees stayed longer at SCCU in 2018 than any time in the last 25 years, and that ultimately benefits members by having more tenured and knowledgeable staff to help you. I want to thank all of our dedicated team members for their hard work and passion for delivering our brand promise of ‘Honest People. Trusted Products. Time Valued.’
Thank you to all of you, our members, for your support throughout 2018, and I wish all the best that 2019 promises. You are the reason we come to work every day, and work hard to deliver exceptional service to you.