Firstmark Credit Union had a remarkable year in 2013! Financially strong, we took advantage of opportunities to do unexpected things we’ve never done before, gained efficiencies throughout the organization at an accelerated pace, and supported comprehensive products and services that made it possible for thousands of members new and old to pursue their financial dreams.
Despite continuing fiscal challenges at the national level, the credit union and our members were once again fortunate to benefit from a robust Texas economy that far outpaced the rest of the nation, as evidenced by job growth, sales tax collections, and construction permits signaling upticks in housing needs. This healthy environment laid the groundwork for an impressive list of accomplishments for the credit union:
• We welcomed over 5,000 new members to the Firstmark family.
• We outperformed our loan portfolio projections, growing by over $64.3 million over last year and successfully funding over $236 million in new loans to our members.
• We invested in innovative financial tools and new locations that reflected our members’ changing needs and enhanced their financial well-being in unprecedented ways.
And yet, our success was defined not by this long list of accomplishments, but rather by the positive impact they had on the daily lives of our members and employees. Who better, then, to tell the story of 2013? Here’s what they had to say…
Merger of Southside Credit Union (SCU) into Firstmark Credit Union
This was an unexpected opportunity for the credit union. The Firstmark Credit Union Board of Directors approved the merger not only to help the members of Southside Credit Union, but to also further expand the credit union’s services and capabilities for members of the south side community. Now home to our 13th location, the Southwest Military Branch reflects the
combined commitment of both organizations to this unique community.
“The change from Southside Credit Union to Firstmark was a breeze. Everything went so smooth and we were very pleased. Everyone is so friendly. In fact we even closed on our personal loan with you guys, it happened so fast we were surprised. Being a business owner myself, I feel if you treat your employees right, it shows, and then the members are also treated right.” – Becky G., Southside business owner and new Firstmark member
New Branch on Potranco Road
The building of our 14th branch, located on Potranco Road, gave our members on the west side of San Antonio and Bexar County a new way to conveniently access our services. Extensive studies indicate that this area will experience explosive growth in the coming decade; thus, this site was chosen for its ability to best meet the current and future needs of our members and potential members.
An electronic signature-capturing system that was implemented for all loan products except real estate loans, DocuSign not only greatly increases quality, accuracy, and efficiency, but also allows members to finalize loans and other documentation from the comfort of their own home or on the go.
MyMark – Online Money Manager
Members can keep tabs on their finances and make their money work for them by using this personal financial management tool (PFM). Launched inside of online banking, MyMark allows online banking users to set budget goals and spending targets, as well as manage their overall financial picture.
Remote Deposit Capture
This exciting new feature enables mobile banking users to deposit checks straight from their smartphones by simply taking a picture. The credit union was one of the first financial institutions in San Antonio to implement this technology for our members.
“It’s so easy! Thank you!” – Ginny G., Firstmark member & Remote Deposit Capture user
Responsive Design Platform
Incorporated into the credit union’s website, this innovation allows for an optimized experience accessing the credit union online. It provides all website visitors with an experience automatically tailored to the device they are using, resizing the content for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
Members were able to talk to us using the social media tools they love. Social media provides Firstmark with opportunities to communicate with members and prospects in a candid, friendly, real-time environment. Over the last several years, the credit union has built a following of over 11,000 users on Facebook and was ranked 6th among credit unions (in the world) in their
“Power 100” social media rankings.
“I love that even if I can’t get a hold of someone by phone or email, I can always get a fast response on Facebook. If they can’t answer my question, it’s quickly forwarded to the right person. I also learn about their newest contests and product updates first through Facebook.” – Aimee N., Firstmark member
Members were given expanded ATM card options and functionality after the credit union implemented a successful conversion of our debit card processing methods, saving considerable expense and providing a marked increase to our ATM network reliability and security. The conversion was one of several large projects implementing the latest technology in support of our core computer systems, wire transfer processes and lending portfolio offerings.
“This major conversion positioned Firstmark to offer the membership the ability to customize their interactions with the ATM, to offer the European, MasterCard®, and Visa® (EMV) option in the future, and protect the members’ information using a higher level of Payment Card Industry (PCI) security. Bottom line: reliability, personalization, and security.” – Don Jones, SVP/CIO
Safeguards for the protection of personal information and financial data were reinforced by the development of a sophisticated third-party-certified disaster recovery process commensurate with today’s challenges that details readiness activities for business resumption in case of catastrophe, disaster, or terrorist activity.
“Business continuity planning and implementation provides greater business resiliency for the credit union and the resumption of services to members, allowing Firstmark to continually provide financial services to the membership in the event of a disruption of services to either our headquarters or at our branches.” – Ariel Casses, Business Continuity Specialist
The Mark Intranet
Expansion and enhancements to our internal communication network, The Mark, made it easier and more efficient for employees to share knowledge and keep important information related to our member experience at their fingertips.
“Having one site to go to for procedures, product knowledge, employee directory, forms, community events and news is very helpful. I would be lost without The Mark. It’s a fantastic resource tool!” – Olga Flores, Assistant Branch Manager
Advances in Training and Development
In response to a change in the strategic direction of our Training and Development Department, the credit union implemented the first steps of redesigning all learning and performance offerings for a better educated, better informed, and well trained staff.
“My training experience was by far was one the best I’ve ever had! I felt confident knowing first-hand what type of scenarios I would come across in my new position. It also helped that my peers and trainers came from different levels of financial institution experience and I knew I could look to them as a very helpful resource!” Cynthia Rivera, Teller
Looking back, it’s evident that while the principles of financial strength and conservative stewardship have always been our guide, superior service to our member-owners is the very core of our mission. Our members are our purpose, and meeting their needs while exceeding their expectations has been our goal since we opened our doors in 1932.
Thank you to all of our members for making Firstmark their financial institution of choice and allowing us to serve them. We deeply value the trust placed in us to lead this institution with wisdom, carry out its mission with integrity, and ensure the safety of their hard-earned money.
Leon Ewing, President/CEO
Donald Pinson, Board Chairman