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2020 Annual Report


James Collins
President and CEO

 

CEO's Report


The year 2020 was one of the most challenging in history. The COVID pandemic created extraordinary moments in all of our lives and continues to demand our attention. Its impact globally and nationally has been staggering, while locally, everyone was affected in some way. O Bee’s efforts were drawn to our employees’ safety and welfare, our neighbors, friends, and families.

Early on, we realigned our business model to focus on the unique demands of this emergency. Over $30 million of member loans were deferred when the economy shuttered in April. We enhanced our online and mobile banking options and established drive-thru-only branches until it was safe to open our lobbies again. As we enter 2021, nearly 600 of our members remain unemployed (up from only about 30 in February of 2020). We remain committed to helping all our members through the challenges that remain.

The most significant impact on the industry as a whole is escalating deposits. O Bee’s deposits grew by more than $90 million for the year, compared to $23M in 2019, because of increased deposits due to stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment checks. A general lack of consumer purchasing significantly contributed to this situation as well.

That said, the credit union is strong financially. Even after taking over $1 million in additional reserves for potential loan losses, the credit union still made over $2 million in net income for the year. Delinquency and charge-off remain low, and we hope that the funds we put away in reserve will not be needed. We had bright spots, too: mortgage lending was robust, as was our new business lending services. We reopened our branches and safely resumed normal services earlier than many thought possible — a testimonial to the great team here at the credit union.

While the pandemic continues to present challenges, we are moving forward with initiatives in 2021 to reshape our local communities through investing in our members and businesses. We plan to take our surplus deposits and put them to good use in the community. This is a crucial driver of our 2021 focus.

As always, the credit union promise of People Helping People remains our guiding focus.

Respectfully Submitted,
James Collins, President and CEO
March 2021



Will Saudners Jr.
Board Chair

Chair's Report


2020 was one of the tougher years on record for O Bee and the communities we serve, and the economic landscape around us has changed. Thankfully, O Bee members have come through fairly well overall. Members entrusted O Bee with significant savings and borrowed for businesses and projects to come. The O Bee team made this possible with safe branches, excellent judgment, and innovative ideas that have given us a foundation to build on as the country recovers.

Nonetheless, in the year to come, we are bracing for hardship in our communities. At this point, vaccines have reached about 10% of Washingtonians; however, it will be many months before people feel safe to connect and move about as we once did. Many of our neighbors and local businesses will continue to face significant struggles. But O Bee will be there for them.

O Bee is doubling down on our vision of accessible financial services for all. We are strategically focused on improving capital position, recruiting, and retaining members, and ensuring our services really serve members’ needs. When we sought recognition as a low-income designated credit union, we equipped ourselves to serve communities with financial challenges. Recently we were named a Community Development Financial Institution. As such, we’ll have access to resources that can offer new sources of capital to help grow local economies. Our new Business Services division has allowed us to be an active participant in Small Business Administration loans, and we are still one of only a few financial institutions in the country set up to work responsibly with Washington’s growing cannabis businesses.

We have a long way to go before we really recover as a country, but O Bee is better positioned than ever to help when conditions allow. As a financial cooperative committed to the welfare of our members, we built strong services and relationships during good times that have sustained us during difficult times. The past year was tough -- and the present is difficult for many -- but the Board sees renewed opportunities for members and for our communities.

Will Saunders
Board Chair
March 2021

 

Highlights


A Year Like No Other
Over a few short days in early March, we realigned our business model to focus on the unique demands of the pandemic. Almost overnight our dedicated team began working remotely to maintain the exceptional level of service on which you depend.


Branch Lobbies Reopen
With much planning and enhanced safety protocols in place, most branch lobbies reopened in June or earlier. This was sooner than we had expected and ahead of most other financial institutions in the area.


Masks for Charity

Masks became an important part of staying healthy. O Bee offered several masks with brewery-inspired designs (plus Berenstain Bears for the children!) in exchange for a donation. The response was overwhelming.


Community Donations
We raised more than $50,000 for local charities through our mask and t-shirt charity initiatives. We distributed needed funds throughout Thurston and Pierce County to non-profits doing work to help those most affected by the pandemic. Food banks, in particular, saw an extraordinary increase in demand for food, cash donations and volunteers.


Members Remained Loyal
Members remained loyal in 2020. Our employees faced complicated issues and long days, but through it all they handled the challenges with grace, care and yes, often humor. Our Net Promoter score, measuring customer satisfaction, ended the year at an outstanding 88%.


Keeping A Balance
At O Bee we have a long tradition of dressing up for Halloween. Our teams were not going to let a pandemic get in the way of some fun. With some clever costumes, masks, and holding our breath for photos we were able to have a fun day and keep a balance during a stressful time.