Community First Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in Florida, released its 2016 annual financial report at its 83rd annual meeting held Thursday, March 16 at the credit union’s headquarters in LaVilla. The annual report shows strong loan growth for the fourth year in a row and a record $22 million in new local business loans to area organizations and entrepreneurs.
The credit union’s loan portfolio grew to $954 million, up a record 16 percent from $820 million last year. Consumer loans, which include car loans and mortgages, grew from $385 million at the end of 2015 to $474 million in 2016, a 23 percent increase. The total business loan portfolio is now a historical institutional high of $60 million. Total assets were reported at more than $1.4 billion, an increase of 6 percent over 2015. The credit union also announced that it funded its largest small business loan in its history – a $3.6 million expansion loan for a physician practice on Jacksonville’s Northwest side. Total loans to small businesses increased 78 percent over 2015.
“Last year, we continued to see the benefits of increased consumer and small business confidence,” said CEO and President John Hirabayashi. “This was one of the strongest growth years in our 82-year history.”
In 2016, the credit union reported a capital to assets ratio of 13.17 percent, the highest ratio reported in the organization’s recent history (up from 12.8 percent in 2015). Membership grew to more than 119,000, an increase of 7 percent over 2015. Earnings were reported at $15.8 million. A key measure of member engagement is the number of members who actively bank with the credit union. In 2016 active checking account balances grew from $225 million to $247 million, a 10 percent increase.
The credit union also updated members on its Branch Transformation initiative that began with the opening of the Riverside Branch in early 2016. Riverside featured all of the design elements, technology solutions and other enhancements that will carry forward to all branches of the future. In late 2016, the credit union celebrated the opening of its retrofitted and renovated Arlington Branch, its busiest location. Community First also started the retrofit of its Westside Branch on 103rd Street, which will be completed this summer, and announced the construction of a replacement, free-standing Fleming Island branch. Through Branch Transformation members enjoy a great in-branch experience, along with the tools and technology to access the credit union anytime, anywhere.
Leaders of the credit union also gave an update on the institution’s moveUp financial wellness program launched in 2016. The initiative is the first of its kind in Jacksonville to engage members with technology solutions and specialty education to take control of their finances and improve their knowledge while working to improve credit scores and overall financial wellness. More than 4,000 members have enrolled in the program since launch.
In 2016 Community First expanded its commitment to projects, initiatives and events that improve quality of life on the First Coast. It became The Florida Theatre’s first-ever season-long sponsor and provided the theater’s largest sponsorship commitment to date. It continued to support beloved community events like the Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, the Community First Seawalk Music Festival and the Sing Out Loud Festival in St. Augustine. The Community First Cares Foundation raised a record amount of funds in 2016 to continue supporting projects that meet our mission of improving health and wellness in our commun