Happy New Year! I sincerely hope you had a happy and prosperous 2013.
As our cooperative enters 2014, we have an important event in our near future that I want you to be aware of. Beginning on the evening of Friday, March 28, we will be making a needed (and overdue) upgrade to our core processing system - the backbone of our information systems. In short, all of the systems that you interact with (online, mobile, ATMs, debit and credit card authorizations) ultimately connect to this one.
To facilitate this upgrade, when we close for business at 6 p.m. on Friday evening March 28, we won't open again until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 1. While you will be able to access your funds using your debit or credit cards or by writing checks, you will not be able to use CU Online, our mobile apps, or TouchTone 24 - nor will our ServUs Center or call center staff be able to perform transactions on your behalf.
We will work to minimize any disruption , but chances are you will be impacted as we will be operating off-line for much of that three-day period. But once our upgrade is complete, we will have a new system to grow with that will allow us to enhance service, improve convenience, expand product offerings and remain flexible for years to come.
That flexibility will help us continue the progress we've made together as a cooperative in the last 12 months. Your participation, under the leadership of our volunteer, member-elected Board of Directors, enabled us to make a number of additions to the benefits of membership in 2013. These included:
And of course, another obvious way we've demonstrated the true value of membership is in our return of surplus capital to participating members through PLUs (Payback for Loyalty to Us) - $5 million in 2013, up 67% over the $3 million paid out in 2012. More than 89,000 members shared in the payout, averaging roughly $56 per member.
The next issue of Financially Empowered, our exclusive member magazine, will contain additional details about the conversion weekend and beyond. Please be sure to read it and make note of the details so you're not caught short that weekend.
I wish you - all of Us - a prosperous new year.
Ronald L. Westad
P.S. If you are considering borrowing funds for any upcoming car, home, or other purchase, please consider Us first - you'll not only support your not-for-profit financial cooperative; you may also get a portion of any interest you pay in the form of a refund at the end of the year - just as over 34,000 of our borrowers did at the end of 2013! That's an average loan interest refund of $735!