This is my favorite time of year. Early fall is when Coastal's leadership is busy putting together our strategy for the following year. It's always exciting to plan ahead for all of the amazing things we want to share with our members.
As much as I like to look far ahead, I don't want to lose sight of some significant things happening at Coastal right now and throughout the remainder of 2016.
Wells Fargo Response
First, I'd like to address a story that made headlines recently. By now, you may have seen the news coverage of the fines and firings tied to the widespread fraudulent account opening activity at Wells Fargo. It's certainly disheartening to witness an institution squander away the trust of so many people. It's more disheartening to know that it's the result of a sales culture that puts more emphasis on hitting sales targets than it does on being ethical and helping people succeed.
In response, I sent an email to all employees, personally pledging to continue fostering a corporate culture that meets our goals through meeting members' needs, rather than putting the numbers first. While we have performance goals, our primary focus is on meeting member needs, and we have plenty of opportunities to grow our business through ethical means, by helping members make their financial dreams come true. It was important to me to use this opportunity to remind everyone of that.
Credit Card Conversion
At the end of September, we will complete our credit card conversion project. This is a huge undertaking, not only to move to a new processor and introduce four brand new cards to the market, but also to reissue more than 30,000 credit cards to existing cardholders at the same time. Many of you have begun receiving your new cards, which can be activated at the end of the month.
Personally, I'm looking forward to the new rewards that will be available, while from a business perspective, I'm optimistic about the new security that chip-enhanced cards will provide. Be sure to stay up to date about the project at COASTAL24.com/MyNewCard
Our team is also hard at work merging Freedom Credit Union into Coastal. The merger was effective July 1, and we're now in the process of converting Freedom accounts and branch locations to our systems. In early November, all Freedom members will be switched to Coastal accounts and can begin using Coastal branches and enjoying the full benefits of being Coastal members. At that time, existing Coastal members also will be able to benefit from new branch locations in Rocky Mount and Henderson, as well as on site at WakeMed Raleigh and WakeMed Cary.
This is a great move for Coastal and will be a wonderful benefit for members new and old.
Market Share Rankings
Over the past few years, we've put a strong focus on making strategic moves and system improvements that will position Coastal for a prosperous future. Still, we've remained steadfastly committed to providing members with the great products and services they need right now. In fact, we're now among the top institutions in the market for several of the loans we offer. Consider a few of our recent rankings:
- Coastal has been ranked #1 in home equity loans in Wake and Durham counties since January.
- We're ranked #4 in auto lending market share in Wake County, and #6 for the entire Triangle.
- We're #12 in mortgage volume, out of more than 450 lenders doing business in the Triangle.
All of these are impressive considering the enormous size of some of our local competitors, and national lenders doing business in our market. It's a testament to people wanting to do business with a lender they know and trust.
Not all of our accolades come from business success. The recognition I'm most proud of are the awards we've earned for being a great employer. Coastal recently earned three awards that illustrate our commitment to employees:
- Credit Union Journal's Best Credit Unions to Work For
- Triangle Business Journal's Best Places to Work
- Triangle Business Journal's Healthiest Employers
I've always believed that taking great care of our employees is the first step in making sure we take great care of our members. This sort of recognition not only reaffirms that, it helps us to recruit and retain top talent.
Go Green Counter
Lastly, I'd like to share a bit of a treat. When we launched our new Digital Banking system last fall, one of the features we touted was the ability to do more in-house development and create enhancements that would uniquely benefit our members. The most requested feature has been a Go Green counter. If you haven't already noticed, take a look at your Go Green account information screen. The new counter shows how many Go Green debit card transactions you've completed this month, so you'll be able to quickly tell how close you are to earning the top rate tier for both Go Green Checking and Go Green Money Market.
To me, little changes like building a debit card counter are just as critical to our success as big changes like mergers and conversions. I truly believe that to be great, you have to be in a constant state of improvement.
Until next time,
President & CEO