During CY2019, ASCU continued to operate in a fiscally sound and conservative manner. In spite of a less than robust economy, we experienced growth as we dealt with increased operating costs and a decrease in loan growth. However, we feel that we met our goal of providing you with timely and state of the art financial services to assist you in meeting your financial needs. Fortunately, we are not concerned with making profits to satisfy outside investors; our concern is to make sufficient income to cover our operational costs which enables us to continually provide high quality and timely services to you, our member owners. A major initiative for us is to set the standards for quality financial services offered in our field of membership.
Some of our accomplishments over the past year are as follows: (1) The planning for a new Douglas Branch Office was finalized. The new facility will be available for occupancy later this year. (2) Our Collection Team was very diligent in keeping our loan losses at a minimum. As a result of their efforts, our net income for this year was bolstered. (3) Approval was granted for our field of membership expansion. All of Pima, Greenlee and Graham counties are now officially part of our service area. This gives ASCU potential for future growth in southern Arizona, which will help us increase our market share in this very competitive environment. (4) A partnership with a mortgage financing company in Tucson was formed to assist us in doing wholesale mortgage purchases. Hopefully, this will provide a portal for increased loan volume. 5) We co-sponsored the Sheriff’s Charity Ride and were successful in raising thousands of dollars in support of three charities.
The ASCU Board of Directors (BOD) takes very seriously the responsibility they have in overseeing the operation of ASCU. We appreciate your dedicated support and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your BOD. The operational staff assembled by Brian Barkdull, our President/CEO, is very talented. They are specialists in their respective areas, and have a “members first attitude” which makes them a very cooperative team focused on providing exceptional service. I envision that ASCU will continue to model excellence and be regarded as a highly acclaimed and respected member of Arizona’s business community. However, we do anticipate challenges in CY2020, primarily in the areas of technology and market share. Once again, we thank you, our member owners, for your support.
Gilbert White, ASCU Board Chairman
It is my pleasure to once again report to you on the status of our organization – American Southwest Credit Union. I am happy to state that your Credit Union is healthy and strong. Even during this pandemic year, our resiliency has been evident and our resolve to protect your Credit Union unwavering. Officially, my report points to 2019, but with the unprecedented events of this year, it is difficult not to include 2020 along with 2019 in my report.
The calendar year 2019 was a time of investment in technology. We have retooled, revamped, installed, reviewed and recovered existing and new technology – one piece at a time. Many of these things are invisible to you, aside from the times where we had to take the system down in order to change something. Things such as, routers, servers, network enhancements, equipment, software revisions, app enhancements – all played a part with furthering improvements that eventually benefit you. Then there were the cyber-security upgrades to protect our systems and your data. It was monumental and so was the expense. In the end, it is all necessary. We can’t afford to let our guard down and let the bad guys win. Fortunately, we have a solid platform and we want to keep it that way.
Through the last year and a half, our team has tirelessly and selflessly worked to bring great service to you. It has not been an easy road, so, may I publicly go on record that I greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication during a very difficult time. Similarly, our Board of Directors kept their focus and provided the correct direction necessary to steer us through troubled waters. I also appreciate them very much.
In 1998, I was hired as CEO of Huachuca Federal Credit Union. The total assets then were approximately $41 million. Almost 23 years later, our assets now exceed $275 million. Today, and thousands of changes later, we are still your locally owned Credit Union. We have survived vivacious competition, over-reaching regulations and economic instability. As I prepare to hand the baton over to your next CEO, I am so very grateful for the opportunity to serve you and for the ride. It was a good one. I’m certain that your next 23 years will be full of outstanding products and services – a never-ending pursuit. This is my last report to you, our member-owners of American Southwest Credit Union. I’ll leave you with this Japanese saying: “Itsumo heiwa ga arimasu yōni.” May you always have peace.
Brian J. Barkdull, President/CEO
Another year has yet again passed by and we are now brought together again to report on this past year’s performance as well as recognize the hard work and diligence of the staff at American Southwest Credit Union.
I hope that you, our member-owners, have remained vigilant ensuring the safety of your family and your own health in these times. COVID-19 has been the main focus for all of us so far this year. I hope that you have taken advantage of all of the awesome online platforms that ASCU has to offer to make your financial transactions easy to handle from home during the quarantine. I trust that you have found the staff at American Southwest Credit Union friendly and capable of handling all of your transactions in person as well as remotely. One of the great remote applications is Mobile Banking. You are able to scan your checks and deposit them from the safety of your home. It is the goal of the staff to continue to serve you with the highest quality financial products and services. As I have stated in the past, these are a few of the reasons why I continue to believe that this is the best Credit Union in our state. We continue to maintain a staff with the best professionals in the credit union industry who are always striving to learn more to serve you while using the best technology available.
Our deposits have continued their year-over-year growth with modest growth in 2018. Loan growth continued to through 2019; however, as we start 2020 those numbers are decreasing due to the uncertainty of the stability of our personal income. We are ever grateful for the trust you place in our stability and strength.
As always, it has been my pleasure to continue working with the Board and staff of ASCU. We fully recognize that without you, we would not be where we are today. Thank you for your continued support over the years and thank you for the confidence you have placed in us as we continue to grow. We pledge to continue to make your Credit Union the best financial institution for all of our members.
This report is respectfully submitted to you, the valued members of American Southwest Credit Union.
Mary Hyder, Board Treasurer
Currently the Supervisory Committee for American Southwest Credit Union has four members: Robert Evans, Michael Squires, Curtiss Peterson and myself, Charles Baker. We are volunteering our time on behalf of the membership as a whole with the primary responsibility of overseeing the Credit Union Board and management. We meet our responsibility by reviewing management documents, staff reports and board decisions to insure they comply with current policy. We also engage a Certified Public Accounting firm to audit the financial statements of the Credit Union and review the audit results.
In the final year of our contract, with Moss Adams LLP, they performed the audit of our financial statements for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2019. In September 2019, Moss Adams completed their opinion audit. We are pleased to announce they concluded that the financial statement presents fairly, in all material aspects, the financial position of the Credit Union. After having Moss Adams as our auditor for the past nine years, the committee decided it was time for a change. Although Moss Adams provided excellent service, the committee decided a fresh look would be useful. After reviewing proposals to our requests for quotes from the top five credit union auditors, we selected Turner, Warren, Hwang & Conrad from Burbank, CA. I am pleased to note they have already started with the online work portion for the 2020 audit.
The regulators from the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions examined the Credit Union in January 2020. They confirmed our belief that the Credit Union is sound and operates in accordance with state and federal regulations. In their findings they noted items needing improvements. One item of note was the Supervisory Committee needed a work plan to follow and to provide better documentation of committee activities. The committee has prepared a work plan and is taking the steps to address the findings.
The Credit Union continues to utilize CastleGarde Inc to review, test and assess our Information Technology systems and services. The Supervisory Committee is happy to announce our IT meets sound standards and no deficiencies could be found. The CastleGarde reports provide additional useful information on threats and actions to reduce our risks. The Credit Union also uses Affirmx to assess our compliance with regulations, providing risk indications of credit union operations. The committee reviews this information and is happy the risks are assessed as low by Affirmx. We have enjoyed serving the membership this last year and look forward to working for you next year.
We are currently one member short for the committee. If you are interested in serving on the Supervisory Committee, please contact me by mail at: ASCU P.O. Box 370 Sierra Vista, AZ 85636.
Charles Baker, Supervisory Committee Chair