After a year that included devastating wildfires, social unrest, economic shutdowns, and of course, the Coronavirus, I’m sure that nobody wants to relive 2020. Dousing ourselves in sanitizer, adapting to the strangeness of separation from others, competing for toilet paper, and wearing masks into financial institutions all became normal—sort of. After ten months, we are no doubt exhausted by this pandemic. And while it might be easy to focus or dwell on the challenges that 2020 presented, our evolution brought some positive outcomes.
Fortunately, Yolo Federal Credit Union entered this crisis well-capitalized and more resilient than ever before in our history. We quickly deployed technology to accommodate a more remote workforce, implemented numerous safety measures to limit risks from the virus, and worked very hard to ensure that our members experienced no service interruption. Digital banking and remote services became critical to this objective, so we improved our appointment scheduling system to reduce branch traffic and adhere to the social distancing guidelines. LoanPay helped ease the online loan payment process, and we extended our Member Service Center hours for the holiday season.
I am grateful for our dedicated team of front-line staff who showed up every day and allowed us to keep all branches open. Our award-winning lending team processed record volumes. With the support of team members across the organization, our committed Member Service Center maintained wait times of less than 2 minutes, even with the increase in call volume. During this public health crisis, our commitment to providing the safest environment possible for our members and staff resulted in being the first financial institution to obtain a Green Check certification from Yolo County.
We worked hard this year to go beyond providing just financial products. We also offered sound guidance for investments with our wealth management advisory, and we expanded our offering of financial education through Achieve, our new online financial wellness program. The Achieve program is free to use and available in Spanish.
We encouraged our members and staff to shop local, support local, and we provided over $70,000 in grants and donations to local businesses and non-profits that support our community. To help members grow their savings, we maintained historically low loan rates, introduced our new Visa® Platinum CashBack Plus rewards program, and launched our Shortcut to Savings program, which rounds up your Debit Card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference into your designated savings account.
We had record membership growth in 2020, and we ranked 4th in the local mortgage market, behind only three national mega-lenders. We were proud to be named the West Sacramento Chamber’s Business of the Year. Along with being named Best Financial Services, Best Bank, and Best Mortgage Company in Yolo County, we were honored to be voted Best Credit Union for the 20th year in a row!
For over 66 years, Yolo Federal Credit Union has brought together people in Yolo County who share ownership, and a stake, in how well this financial cooperative performs. Despite so much unanticipated challenge, our performance in 2020 exceeded expectations, and we thank you for your part in our continued success.
It has been one heck of a year, but I am optimistic that 2021 will bring new hope, new happiness, and new achievements. Through all of life’s triumphs and challenges and even through a global pandemic, we will be here to support you.
Cheers to the New Year!