2017 Brings Mergers and Growth Opportunities
Letter from the President, Steve Schmitz
As we reflect on 2017, we are filled with excitement for our growing Credit Union. This fall, we notified FCCU members of a merger opportunity with Agassiz Federal Credit Union based out of Crookston, MN. Our Board of Directors at First Community and the Agassiz's Board both approved the merger as well as the respective memberships. The next step in this merger process is getting final approval from the state credit union board, which has been slightly delayed, but is still anticipated to happen in early 2018.
Agassiz Federal Credit Union has 1,500 members, assets of $13 million and seven employees. They were founded in 1953 and have two locations-Crookston and Climax, MN. The community of Crookston has about 8,000 people and is located 25 miles southeast of Grand Forks.
We're also excited to share that FCCU will be merging with Devils Lake based-Citizens Community Credit Union. Citizen's has 10 branch locations in 9 communities serving 11,400 members and assets of $185 million. Branches are located in Devils Lake, St. John, Bisbee, Ft. Totten, Lakota, Northwood, Larimore, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.
The combined credit unions will still be headquartered in Jamestown, ND and operate under the First Community Credit Union name. These mergers will result in a wider range of products, services and locations available to members, while preserving the friendly, quality service of a locally-owned credit union.
The merger with Citizens Community Credit Union came about a different way. In June of 2017, the NCUA conserved (took control) of Citizen's to ensure the safety and soundness of the credit union and since then, has been overseeing business while continuing to serve their membership. Our Credit Union was one of four North Dakota credit unions that was solicited to merge with Citizens. FCCU's Board of Directors passed a resolution to merge CCCU into FCCU. On November 27th, FCCU was notified that we were selected by the NCUA and shortly thereafter, the State Credit Union Board approved the merger.
The primary reason FCCU was selected was because of our strong financial stability. We completed extensive due diligence and while there were some loan issues, Citizens Community Credit Union was adequately funded to cover reserve requirements. We're excited about the opportunity to grow our Credit Union. Citizens has a strong history, operating for more than 77 years and when you combine that with First Community's experience, we're confident that we'll be stronger together.
Looking back on 2017, our success has been a direct result of the hard work of our employees, the commitment of our Board of Directors and the support and patronage of our members. As we look to the future, we are excited to share that with the addition of Agassiz and Citizens, as well as the new Fargo 52nd location, FCCU will have 28 branch locations, 45,300 members and serve 23 communities throughout North Dakota and into Minnesota. We look forward to working and growing with you in the future. I thank each of you for your part and look forward to another successful and prosperous year in 2018.
President & CEO
Kim Halvorson Named FCCU Volunteer of the Year
In recent years, FCCU launched a new volunteer program where employees track the number of hours they volunteer outside of work. Whether it is helping at church, coaching basketball, or volunteering at the local humane society, we encourage, recognize and reward staff who are involved in their communities.
Each year FCCU announces a Volunteer of the Year at an all staff event. This year's winner was Kim Halvorson, Internal Audit Manager at the Fargo Northland location. Kim and her son, Codi, spend about two hours each week at the Homeward Animal Shelter in Fargo helping in the kitten ward. Overall, she has spent more than 80 hours this year helping at the shelter. Kim also helps with the Real World Camp in Fargo-Moorhead where they give presentations to 5th graders on financial literacy topics. She has helped the last few years and is going to be on the planning committee next year to help with further preparations.
Overall, FCCU staff accumulated 2,000 volunteer hours during 2017! FCCU extends a huge thank you to all staff that gives of their time to their communities and we look forward to serving our communities for years to come.
Update on New Fargo 52nd Avenue Branch
Last fall we shared plans for a new FCCU location in South Fargo with construction beginning September of 2016. Since then, the building has been fully enclosed and concrete has been poured for parking. The 28,000 square foot facility is expected to open its doors in spring 2018.
"Continued growth in the Fargo market has allowed the new facility to be built," said Craig Grundstrom, VP of the Fargo market. He continues, "A third location in Fargo allows us to serve our growing consumer and commercial members as development continues rapidly in South Fargo."
The building has a rather unique design. Natural light is utilized, as well as a very modern design. Approximately 10,000 square feet will be finished at opening and the new facility will house over half of our Fargo staff, including our growing ag and commercial lending department. Additional space will be finished in the future, including an area for third-party tenants on the second floor.
FCCU Raises $13,300 for United Way
This fall, FCCU had four markets contribute their time and efforts to help fundraise for United Way. Between Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City and Fargo, First Community Credit Union collectively fundraised a total of $13,376. Last year's total amounted to $13,591.
FCCU matched employee payroll deductions of $5,000 and held various other activities to raise funds. Fundraisers included a silent auction, bake sales and even an opportunity for staff to put a pie in several managers' faces, including our CEO! Stay tuned for photos of this event!
FCCU would like to thank the United Way campaign committee members and we look forward to the funds being utilized throughout our communities.
United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all, by focusing on education, income and health. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action -- to give, advocate and volunteer -- to improve the conditions in which they live.
FCCU Employees Receive Years of Service Awards
We recently recognized several employees for their years of service to our Credit Union at our staff Christmas party. Their hard work, dedication and loyalty day after day, year after year, is greatly appreciated. Please, join us in thanking the following employees for their years of service to our members.
College Scholarships Available
Do you know a high school senior that's graduating this year? Make sure you let them know about the scholarship opportunities available with FCCU! Once again we'll be offering multiple scholarships to our members this year.
FCCU has an education foundation that supports our dedication to area communities by investing in today's youth. In 2014 we donated $1 million into a scholarship foundation to provide additional scholarship dollars to graduating high school students. The earnings from the foundation go to fund scholarship opportunities, including multi-year scholarships for members of the Credit Union for years to come.
In 2018, the Credit Union will award eight $4,000 scholarships and five $2,000 scholarships, which are $1,000 per year. There are 13 scholarships available for the following schools in which FCCU has branch locations: Bismarck State College, Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Concordia College, Lake Region State College, Minnesota State University of Moorhead, Mayville State University, Northland Community and Technical College, North Dakota State University, North Dakota State College of Science, University of Jamestown, University of North Dakota, University of Mary, and Valley City State University. In addition, a limited number of individual one-year scholarships will be available to any college, university, or trade school of the student's choice at the value of $1,000.
Find out more and begin scholarship application.
79th Annual Meeting to be Held
For full details and to access the online scholarship application, please visit our website at www.myFCCU.com in early January. The deadline to submit an application is March 15th, 2018.
The 79th Annual Meeting of First Community Credit Union will be held on March 19, 2018, beginning at 5:30pm. The meeting will be held at the Farmers Union Conference Center located at 1415 12th Avenue SE in Jamestown.
Two positions on the Board of Directors need to be filled. They are three year terms. Sharman Zachrison and Bonnie Nelson have submitted petitions for re-election. No other petitions were submitted. Serving on the nominating committee are Jason McKenney, Sue Corwin and Sandy Franke. As directed by the bylaws, the vacancies will be filled by acclamation at the Annual Meeting.
Following the business meeting, a meal will be served. Meal tickets must be purchased in advance for $2 and can be picked up at any FCCU office prior to close of business, Friday, March 9.