Happy New Year!
On behalf of the Southland Credit Union team, I wish you all a Happy New Year! 2020 was a difficult year for all of us and, like you, your credit union faced many challenges and adjustments. I am proud of our dedicated Southland Associates who continue to serve as essential workers and ensure our Members have access to the banking services they need and rely upon.
Despite the obstacles presented to us, I am pleased to report that Southland has grown to $995 million in assets, and we remain financially strong and well capitalized. In addition to our unprecedented growth during a global pandemic, our Southland team had several accomplishments in 2020.
Last year we extended a helping hand by assisting more than 2,300 Members with fee-free loan payment deferrals, $600,000 in PPP (paycheck protection program) loans, and over $160,000 in emergency relief loans. We also delivered over 3,000 meals to first responders in our local communities.
Many Members joined us with charitable giving in December during our annual toy drive, benefitting Harbor-UCLA Pediatrics in Torrance and the Child & Family Development Center at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. We thank all our Members who brought toys or made a monetary donation – your generosity has made a difference to many lives.
Also, in December, Southland Credit Union completed a significant donation of computer equipment, valued at over $100,000, to the City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) Department. More than 200 computers will be installed in Community Learning Hubs throughout Long Beach, and will be used in after school, teen and senior programs. We are very excited to partner with PRM and assist the City of Long Beach.
Our monthly #CUSmile contests brought in thousands of entries in 2020! We named 21 winners, sent out 14 gift card prizes, and presented $7,000 in grand prizes. Your sincere and heartfelt contest submissions were truly moving, and we were pleased to connect with you.
And for a second year in a row, Southland Credit Union was named a “Best Credit Union to Work For” by Credit Union Journal. We are honored to be included among some of the best-performing credit unions in the nation.
As we begin 2021, we are eager to serve our Members with a fresh outlook. We have themed this issue of Southland Times - “Financial Moves to Make in 2021” - because we are ready to help you feel more financially fit, no matter where you are in your journey.
I would like to share some of our 2021 credit union goals with you, as our initiatives are always influenced by the feedback you share with us.
Our biggest focus in 2021 is technology and innovation. Southland has committed to developing and launching a new digital banking platform with new features, a new look and improved functionality to serve your banking needs wherever you are – at home or on the go.
Last spring, we made a statement expressing our commitment to serving Members of any race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, orientation or religion. It has always been the founding principle of credit unions to embrace the idea of regular, everyday people uniting to build a better way to bank – as a collective. We continue to live by the philosophy of people helping people every day.
We are also committed to learning lessons on how we can do better – how we are responsible for reflecting on our actions and our ability to be empathetic toward the experiences of others. Southland Credit Union has made diversity, equity and inclusion a strategic priority in 2021 to ensure we continue to provide the highest level of service to every Member.
This year, we will also continue to share the benefits of our new Visa credit card portfolio, including our Smart Card option for those who are new to credit. Southland will serve as a resource for learning how to use credit the “smart” way, with more financial education offerings for our Members. And for those who loved our Visa Platinum Rewards and Cash Rewards year-end bonuses in 2020, we are excited to bring you additional Visa rewards later in 2021.
As a credit union Member, you always have an opportunity to make your voice heard. Our Annual Meeting will be held in March, with details on page 5. I invite you to join us virtually for the presentation of our Annual Report.
I am excited to start a new year with Southland Credit Union, and with all of you! We are already hard at work on the initiatives I mentioned above and more, and I am eager to share updates with you in next quarter’s issue of Southland Times. Blessings to you and your family!
Thomas G. Lent, CPA
President & CEO
Southland Credit Union