While watching the recent basketball and hockey playoffs, I took a bit of time to reflect on the value of having a strong, talented team, and the amount of preparation it takes to seize the opportunity to become a champion. I had to smile as I thought about the parallels between a team winning for its fans, and Coastal winning for our members.
So far, 2016 has presented itself as a year of tremendous opportunity. We're fortunate to be in a position of strength and preparedness, and, thanks to hard-working and talented employees, we've been able to capitalize on several opportunities.
This spring, we announced two major endeavors for Coastal that will strengthen our brand and expand our reach. Additionally, we succeeded in making a large impact in the community. All this came about while continuing to work on projects that will enhance our products and services.
Coastal Credit Union Music Park
First, we have entered into an agreement with Live Nation Entertainment to secure the naming rights to what is now known as the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. Having our name on the area's largest outdoor music venue will give the Coastal brand more public prominence, both to attendees of the two dozen events held there annually, and to the vast broadcast audience that will see and hear advertising for those events.
As a bonus, our members are able to use the Coastal Fast Lane simply by showing your Coastal debit or credit card. This provides a shorter wait and faster entry into the venue, a privilege that concertgoers typically pay extra to enjoy.
Several of you have asked me about cost associated with such a sponsorship. The expense is spread out over five years, and fits comfortably within our annual marketing budget, offsetting other advertising costs.
I'm very pleased to share that we have received approval to merge Freedom Credit Union into Coastal. Freedom is a $53 million credit union based in Rocky Mount. The merger will give Coastal more than 9,000 new members, as well as four branches, located in Rocky Mount, Henderson and on-site at WakeMed's facilities in Raleigh and Cary. We already have more than 6,000 members living in the areas served by the Rocky Mount and Henderson locations, and adding those branches will be a benefit to those members, too.
The merger will become effective July 1, with both credit unions operating as separate entities until a full systems conversion can take place on November 1. We are providing regular updates about the process at COASTAL24.com/freedom/.
In May, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and Coastal announced a partnership to build more affordable homes. Beginning in June, Coastal has become the nonprofit’s first mortgage lending partner, with a commitment of $3 million in new, low-cost mortgage loans for 2016 and 2017. This is part of a larger initiative, Together We Build More, which aims to double the number of Habitat homes in Wake County over the next eight years.
You can view the full announcement here.
Power of Sharing
On the topic of giving back, I'm pleased to share that the Coastal Federal Credit Union Foundation recently hosted the Power of Shring gala, a unique event showcasing the positive impact made by nonprofit organizations through the Triangle community. Our foundation and our business partners collaborated to award $275,000 in grants to 11 very deserving organizations.
Credit Card Conversion
Looking ahead, one major project on our plate for the remainder of 2016 is our credit card conversion. We are in the process of moving to a new credit card processor. In doing so, we will be replacing all of our credit cards in September. Benefits to members will include chip-enhanced security, custom PINs and a new enhanced rewards program.
Look for much more information from us throughout the summer as we lay out what you can expect, when to expect it, and how it will affect you.
I hope you share my excitement about all of this news. These projects have required plenty of effort, and there will be plenty more to do to make them a success, but I couldn't be more optimistic. We have a hard-working and talented team, and I know that together we'll turn these opportunities into something remarkable that will bring our members great pride.
President & CEO