Annual Report 2020

The year 2020 challenged everyone. And many of our members, small businesses, and communities are still trying to recover.

Through it all, Affinity Plus was a partner committed to helping, while keeping everyone safe.

From getting more members comfortable using our digital banking tools, to offering video calls, to meeting in the parking lot for mortgage closings, we were still there for our members. Just in more creative ways.

We fully embraced the challenge and showed adaptability, caring, and integrity. And because of that, our credit union remains strong.

Asha, Aaron, Jake & Storm, Affinity Plus members, on a pink and green background
Asha, Aaron, Jake & Storm

Who We Are

MN@2x

Affinity Plus is for people, not for profit. The banking cooperative started in 1930 as a way for a community to support its members and help them succeed. For 90 years, we’ve continued that tradition with caring, integrity, and adaptability.

Our Vision

The best place our members will ever bank and the employees will ever work.

Our Mission

We improve the lives of our members through meaningful banking, exceptional experiences, and trusted relationships.

Our Values

Our values are Caring, Integrity, and Adaptability.

President's Report

How can we best serve our members? As a credit union, we always keep that top of mind. And answering that question was even more critical during the societal crises in 2020. Some of the traditional ways we offered banking had to change.

We’re fortunate to say that, when the COVID-19 pandemic sent many of us to a remote work environment, our technology was ready. Having spent the previous few years completing a 7-system migration, and developing top-rated digital banking products, we were prepared when our members suddenly couldn’t come to our lobbies to do their banking.

Affinity Plus staff brilliantly displayed care, integrity, and adaptability under pressure and new circumstances. As a result, we were able to proactively meet members’ changing needs – automatically reimbursing many fees, fast-tracking forbearances and other loan relief measures, making stimulus check dollars available faster, and offering new PPP loans for small businesses.

Strong financial results followed, showing us the simple-but-important truth that doing good leads to good results.

The members we supported brought even more of their financial needs to Affinity Plus, as we funded more than $900 million in mortgages and refinancing and welcomed more than 14,000 new members in 2020.

As COVID-19 continued and grew, we added to our focus on community support, leveraging the Affinity Plus Foundation to meet broader needs by supporting basic needs such as food shelves, technology for distance learning, and rebuilding businesses following the George Floyd tragedy and subsequent unrest.

We’re positioned to continue finding opportunities like these to help our communities grow, and to keep being about people and not about profit.

Our employees made 2020 a successful year despite some pretty stern headwinds. I am proud to work for and alongside each of you, and I look forward to all we can accomplish together for our members and for each other in the future.

Dave Larson

President/CEO

Board Chair's Report

There was plenty to be concerned about in 2020. But when I think about Affinity Plus and its members and employees over the last 12 months, I feel deep gratitude.

Thank you to our members for your patience as we worked to figure out what the COVID-19 pandemic would mean for how we do business. Thank you for your courage and openness when it came to trying something new, like taking a picture with your phone to deposit a check, or using Video Banking instead of coming to a branch.

Thank you to the Affinity Plus employees – especially our Member Advisors – who maintained the service and support our members expect, even when the lobbies closed. In a time of fear and uncertainty, our employees were bright spots of support and familiarity, showing us what the Special Sauce is all about when it mattered the most.

This wasn’t just in the face of COVID-19. We all also experienced George Floyd’s death and the unrest that followed, here and throughout the country. I have gratitude for the response within Affinity Plus and the Affinity Plus Foundation to create the Twin Cities Healing Fund and of the great support the fund received, and for the focus on diversity and equality within the credit union and our communities.

When these major events occur, as a board we have to forecast and reforecast how we plan to steer the credit union as new information is made available. By all accounts, we had a stronger year than anticipated. And it’s due in large part to our members’ and employees’ resilience, patience, and commitment to working together.

Ron Rollins

Board Chair

Financials

Last year was really tough for people. And tough times are when relationships matter the most. We're proud to say that our member relationships are stronger than ever, and our 2020 financial performance shows it.

Our nearly 220,000 members collectively increased their savings here by over $800 million, a 37% increase from 2019. While this growth put pressure on the credit union's net worth ratio, we wanted to continue to be there for our members as a beacon of stability, flexibility and strength.

So we granted over $1.7 billion in member loan requests. And through this engagement, our members continue to demonstrate their trust in us. Their loans give us the financial resources to support their fellow members and communities in need, while contributing $27 million of net income to help support continued growth and investment in their credit union.

Download the full Financial Report

A green bar graph which reads: Total Assets in 2020: $3.2 billion; Total Assets in 2019: $2.4 billion

Total Assets

As a relationship-based financial co-operative, the credit union's assets primarily consist of loans to members.

On a much lesser scale, the credit union also maintains cash reserves, as well as physical property like branch locations.

An pink bar graph which reads: Net Income in 2020: $27 million; Net Income in 2019: $26.6 million

Net Income

This is our total revenue exceeding the credit union's total expenses.

These funds serve to expand the credit union's capital cushion, to provide funding for continued growth and innovation.

An orange bar graph which reads: Net Worth Ratio in 2020: 8.19%; Net Worth Ratio in 2019: 9.79%

Net Worth Ratio

This is a primary measure of a credit union's capital strength. It signifies its ability to grow member relationships, fund innovation, and weather economic uncertainty.

The credit union's insurer, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), bestows its highest rating of “well-capitalized” upon a credit union that maintains a net worth ratio greater than 7.00%.

What Members Are Saying

Welcome Relief

Andy couldn’t quite find what he was looking for in his banking experience until he joined Affinity Plus. And when COVID-19 hit and finances got tight, the credit union was there for him.

When I walk in to Affinity Plus, I feel like a celebrity! The urgency and the willingness to help is bar none the best in town… I will never bank with another place. The people are the absolute best...the professionalism speaks for itself. Just walk in and you will walk out feeling helped and in a better mood.

Tony
Duluth Community

I came to the United States in 2008 to study. Affinity Plus is the first bank I had and I still use Affinity plus for account and banking needs. They were always very professional yet very friendly with very close relationship which helped me have so much trust in them. I am very thankful and very fortunate to have Affinity Plus help me with loans for my education which helped finish my Bachelor's degree on time. I have tried banking with other banks but NO OTHER BANK IS LIKE AFFINITY PLUS.

Bijay
Moorhead Community

The Year at a Glance

Despite an incredibly challenging year, we supported our members and employees. And had our 90th birthday on May 8!

COVID-19 Response

  • Implemented physical-distance measures and remote-work opportunities for employees
  • Nearly $3.7 million in banking fees waived or automatically refunded
  • Almost $8.5 million in PPP loans for small businesses now in forgiveness; helped retain 1,300 employees
  • Nearly $2 million in 0% interest recovery loans
  • 40 hours of paid time off given to each employee to navigate the pandemic outside of illness

Here for Members

  • Welcomed 14,764 new members
  • Funded $902 million in first mortgages
  • Crossed $3 billion in assets for the first time; members' average savings +31% (historic increase)
  • Expanded small business banking products
  • Answered 825,000 phone calls from members (+22%)
  • Helped 3,500 members over video (implemented mid-year)
  • Responded to over 100,000 secure messages (+82%)
  • Chatted online with 36,000 members

The Digital Age

  • Surpassed 140,000 total digital banking users (+10% from last year)
  • Surpassed 100,000 mobile banking app users (+16% from last year)
  • 39.2 million digital banking visits from members
  • 900,000+ checks deposited with the mobile banking app

Awards & Honors

StarTribune Top 150 Places to Work in 2020

Ranked #4 out of 2,500 companies

Forbes Best-in-state Credit Union, 2020

Third year in a row

Dave Larson, CEO/President

Most Powerful Business Leaders in Minnesota 2020: Minnesota 500

Dave Larson, CEO/President

2020 Top CEO of a Large Company, Star Tribune

Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award

Awarded for comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic response for members and employees

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award

Awarded for the Twin Cities Healing and Affinity Plus Gives initiatives

Community Impact

Building up and giving back to our communities was incredibly important in 2020, with a global pandemic and civil unrest defining so much of the year. Affinity Plus continued to show it is for people above profits, and here’s how.

  • $330,000 from Twin Cities Healing/Affinity Plus Gives distributed to organizations supporting racial equality and rebuilding after civil unrest
  • Interest-free loans and fee removal for members during the start of the pandemic

$700,000+

Donated by Affinity Plus, members, and communities

4,911

Volunteer hours from Affinity Plus employees in 2020

Giving Back Across Minnesota

Affinity Plus is committed to investing back into our members’ communities, by spreading kindness and diversity, supporting Minnesotans in need, and showcasing philanthropy.

Spreading Kindness & Inclusivity

Our partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota promotes inclusion, kindness and leadership for adults and children with developmental disabilities.

  • 107 Affinity Plus employees participated in the Polar Plunge fundraiser
  • Raising $41,170, a record for Affinity Plus
Four Affinity Plus employees wearing purple shirts jumping into a lake.
Polar Plunge

Supporting Families in Need

  • 65,000+ pounds of computer equipment donated to be refurbished and sent to families in need through Tech Tuesdays
  • Affinity Plus raised enough money to provide more than 350,000 meals through Minnesota food banks
  • 250,000 of those meals came from the Coins for a Cause promotion with FOX 9 in December, which collected $42,552.42 in coins from members and communities and Affinity Plus matched for a total of $85,104
Three Affinity Plus employees wearing white beanies and purple shirts, collecting donations in front of an Affinity Plus branch.
Coins for a Cause

Giving Philanthropy a Voice

  • Showcased 52 local businesses and how they give back through Communities That KARE partnership with KARE 11 and donated $1,000 to each business
  • Sponsoring KFAN’s Overtime with Carly Zucker creates a platform to celebrate and honor philanthropic sports champions and their giving
  • Affinity Plus’ 500+ employees were able to gather for All Employee Day 2020 in Minneapolis before the COVID-19 pandemic closed down large indoor gatherings. It was a day of local arts, music, entrepreneurs, and a celebration of organizations and people doing good in our communities.
A room full of children wearing hair nets, packaging food packets. In the upper left of the photo, a logo reading "JK"
JK Movement

Local Focus

Our 28 local branches are passionate about supporting efforts that help our local communities thrive. Read just a few of our favorite stories below.

Community Investment Initiative

Each Affinity Plus branch donated $5,000 to causes or projects in need within their community.

  • New inflatable life boat for the Hastings Fire & Rescue
  • New play equipment for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul
  • Donation to the Alexandria food pantries for the middle school and high school

Duluth Blood Drive

Affinity Plus sponsored a Red Cross blood drive on Nov. 10 & 11 at UMD along with Champ the UMD Bulldog. More than 90 units of blood were collected which can save more than 270 lives.

Affinity Plus Foundation donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross of Minnesota to support COVID-19 antibody testing tied to blood donations.

At $7.50 per test, Affinity Plus provided for more than 1,300 tests to be performed.

Bemidji Gift of Hope Campaign

Affinity Plus partnered with the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  • Provided funding to add extra value onto each gift card
  • Every $50 gift card purchased had $25 added from the Gift of Hope fund
  • Supported small businesses in greatest time of need

Making an Impact

Since 1930, Affinity Plus has donated millions of dollars back to our communities, and our ability to affect change is only getting stronger.

Plus it Forward Day

Plus It Forward Day looked different in 2020 than it did in previous years because our employees were not able to meet up in groups to give back to their communities. Instead, each employee received $75 and a request to do something that spreads kindness in their communities as well as do something kind for themselves through personal development.

Affinity Plus Foundation

The Affinity Plus Foundation worked to educated, engage, and empower Minnesotans in 2020. Through grants and scholarships, the Foundation supports initiatives and efforts that better position people to pursue their dreams.

Looking Forward to 2021

Cookie Cart organization, winner of a Foundation Community grant
Cookie Cart, Community Grant Winners

Sustaining Foundation Membership

Become a Sustaining Member of the Affinity Plus Foundation with a new feature that allows you to donate $1, $3, $5 automatically each month directly from your account.


Lake Superior College
Lake Superior College

Lake Superior College

We’ll be adding a branch on campus in Duluth, making it easier for students to bank and give back to their communities!