FROM THE CEO
To Our Members
Last month marked one year since a global pandemic was declared and normal life seemingly ground to a halt. In the months since, we’ve all learned to deal with the new normal that has resulted. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone who has lost someone to this virus, and to those who are currently struggling with it. As vaccines have become available and are being administered across the country, we are on a path to what is termed by the experts as “herd Immunity”, and the outlook is becoming much brighter daily.
As you know, our lobbies have been closed for most of the last year, as we have conducted all teller transactions at our drive-thru windows, and all other services have been conducted through online and mobile banking as well as via the phone. That has worked well and we appreciate your patience with all of it. At the time of writing this letter we are excited to begin to return to traditional banking practices, effective April 1st when we reopen our lobbies for teller transactions. Our lending and new account services will continue virtually, via online and mobile banking, with plans to reopen our MSR offices for new accounts, by appointment only, as early as May 1. We will keep you updated as we finalize that date. Lending will continue virtually for the foreseeable future. As we’ve all come to expect, no matter where we do business, masks and social distancing will be required to enter our lobbies.
Regarding the economy, we turn to the experts for their forecasts each year. The Credit Union National Association’s Chief Economist, Mike Schenk noted, “As vaccinations become more widely available, people will begin to leave their homes, travel, and spend money as interest rates remain low. At the same time, the unemployment rate is beginning to recover as more jobs come back into the economy. I don’t know if I would call that a rosy forecast, but it’s certainly rosier than we’ve previously published, at least from an economic perspective. And that’s pretty good news overall.”
The word inflation is being bandied about, but based on everything I’m currently seeing and hearing, is that there will be some pressure on inflation, but at this point it is not expected to be too strong. Rates should remain relatively stable including mortgage rates which will likely see some fluctuation but should remain relatively stable and low. All consumer rates should remain stable for the foreseeable future.
You may be asking what the year will likely look like for your credit union. Here are some predictions I’m making.
- Deposit growth will continue to be strong – probably not quite as strong as last year as we saw deposit growth of over 20% in 2020.
- Consumer lending (auto loans, personal loans, home equity loans) will continue to increase as the first quarter has been well ahead of Q1 last year.
- Maine Savings was again the largest Credit Union mortgage lender in Maine and we expect that to be the case again in 2021.
- Our subsidiary mortgage company, CUSO Home Lending, was the second largest home lender in the state among all mortgage lenders, including the largest banks. This trend should also continue and our market share will continue to grow, as a result of great rates, personal, local service and a robust menu of great mortgage products.
- Our loan delinquency numbers continue to remain extremely low, and well below peer numbers. This is due to having an excellent membership who cares about their credit union and continues to pay on time during extremely challenging times.
As always, we continually strive to improve our offering of products and services. Currently we are running an awesome promotion to help everyone move back to improved normalcy—a credit card promotion that allows existing Maine Savings members who have Visa credit cards with us to consolidate card balances from other institutions at 0.00% APR* interest until April 2022. You can be sure we will strive to create additional money-saving promotions for our loyal members.
We have a new digital banking platform being developed that will transform the way you conduct business and you’ll be hearing more about that in the coming months.
As always, thank you for your business and the trust you place in Maine Savings.
John Reed Chief Executive Officer
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Convenience Checks processed by May 31, 2021, up to your available credit limit, will receive the stated promotional APR through your April 2022 statement cycle. If your account should go delinquent prior to April 2022 statement cycle, your rate will return to the current standard rate. Convenience Checks processed after May 31, 2021, will receive the standard APR for cash advances. When trasnfering a balance using the convenience checks, you should continue to make your monthly payments to each creditor until you receive a statement from the issuer/merchant reflecting the balance transfer payment. All existing payment terms apply. Rates are subject to change. Each convenience check will be treated as a cash advance as described in your Credit Card Agreement, will begin to accure finance charges after April 2022 (provided your account does not go delinquent), and is subject to credit availability. Like any check, these convenience checks are negotiable and should be destroyed if you do no plan to use them.