Annual Report 2021

Affinity Plus continued to embrace change in 2021, remaining a source of stability for our members, employees, and communities.

The credit union focused on making members’ experiences even more meaningful, while reflecting changes in how our members prefer to do their banking.

We emphasized diversity, inclusion and belonging and created programs and services for underserved people, added and updated several branch locations, and continued to grow our membership in new places and communities.

We appreciate you. We’ve been through a lot together these past couple of years. And we are truly thankful that you continue to choose Affinity Plus with something as personal and significant as your financial well-being.

AR Hero@2x
Claire, Maureen, John & Arnold

Who We Are

2021 Who We Are - AR@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 Purpose

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

When we began 2021, we wanted to continue improving the banking experience for our members while also finding opportunities to bring that experience to new places and people.

We faced challenges, including the continued COVID pandemic, and I’m grateful that our employees and members answered with care, adaptability, and integrity. And as a result, the credit union remains strong.

 

Part of that strength is in our identity as a low-income-designated credit union, which means more than half of our members have low- to moderate-income levels. And in 2021, we found more opportunities to work with unbanked and under-banked communities with new services, products, and locations.

 

We financed 1,100 mortgages for members with low or very-low incomes, earning the credit union recognition from Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. We started the New American Loan program with the City of St. Paul to help people achieve citizenship, issuing the first loan in December 2021. And we invested in $1 million in Dora, a banking app designed to meet the needs of unbanked and underbanked community members.

 

We found opportunities to share Affinity Plus’ values in more places in 2021. We started a merger with the White Earth Reservation Federal Credit Union, added new branches, and upgraded existing branches. I’m proud that within the credit union, we developed and published our first Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report with transparency. And we continued investing in our branch locations while keeping up with new ways our members can bank with us.

One of the organization’s strongest successes the past two years has been the use of its top-rated mobile app and online banking platform. Digital adoption has skyrocketed with a record 65 percent of members actively using digital banking in 2021.

People like what we’re doing: Forbes named us the Best Credit Union in the State, our membership grew by 9%, and our member satisfaction scores remain high. With our strong financial and community standing, I look forward to finding new opportunities to share our mission and values as a credit union with members and employees in 2022. 

Thank you for making 2021 one of the most successful years in our history!

 

Dave Larson

President/CEO

Board Chair's Report

It was another year of new challenges and changes, but in 2021 our employees once again showed us why care, adaptability, and integrity make us the best credit union in Minnesota.

Despite a continued pandemic and changes in how the credit union does business, Affinity Plus employees treated members with warmth and kindness, making personal connections and forming real and lasting relationships. 

It’s important that as a credit union, we remain directly involved in our communities. Affinity Plus employees did this with their work and their volunteer commitments in 2021, including a successful Plus It Forward Day with 550 Affinity Plus employees and 61 other credit unions participating across the state.

When we invest in our employees, great things happen. 

This year we celebrated 77 employee promotions throughout the credit union, as well as 17 employee graduates from the Masters of Business Administration Degree from Metro State University as a part of a pilot program partnership with the credit union. The Star Tribune recognized us as a Top Workplace based on employee engagement, organizational health and satisfaction, ranking us 7th out of 2,900 organizations. And we were given a national award for “Cultural Excellence” for Employee Well Being based on employee input.

The last several years changed much about how our employees do their jobs, and their response has been graceful, patient, and kind. Thank you for your adaptability to new ways for our members to do their banking – like the 7,200+ video banking calls answered in 2021 – while treating our members with such incredible care. 

The future looks bright with possibility. Thank you for your continued excellence!

 

Ron Rollins

Board Chair

Financials

Affinity Plus’s financial theme for 2021 could be described as “Doing good is good business.” This past year, we continued our recent investment in the Member Experience. By expanding digital, phone and branch resources, we helped members engage more deeply with their financial needs, on their own terms. At the same time, we added new banking products and opportunities. And that empowered even more people and communities to participate in life-changing financial inclusion.

Our 230,000 members increased their average savings balances with Affinity Plus by 14%, to over $15,250. Affinity Plus had a strong year growing assets by 17%, loans by 17%, and shares by 22%. This signifies how we continue to deepen our banking relationship with members, while providing them opportunities to support their fellow members and communities in need.

We’ve also diversified and expanded our investments to build future financial success. In the process, we earned the #1 ranking within our custom peer group for returning value to members (Callahan & Associates). Last year was great. And we look forward to building on our strong foundation, and continuing our strong relationships with our members.

Download the full Financial Report

A green bar graph which reads: Total Assets in 2021: $3.7 billion; Total Assets in 2020: $3.2 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 2021: $43.8 million; Net Income in 2020: $27 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 2021: 8.16%; Net Worth Ratio in 2020: 8.19%

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

A Childhood Dream

Affinity Plus made it “easy and fun” for Erin to buy his Duluth childhood home from his mom, who then became a member at the credit union.

Being a small business owner means the world to me. It was always my dream to prove to myself that I could open a restaurant. Affinity Plus was able to help set me up for success. The things they helped me with, I didn’t even know I needed. So much credit is due to Affinity Plus for getting my restaurant opened.

Tim Truong, Soul Fu

Affinity Plus has been there for me through a lot of changes in my life and has taught me more than I ever thought I’d learn from a bank. They provided me with resources and information that I didn’t have and partnered with me to ensure that my debt pattern stopped. That was an eye-opening experience and I was able to see how important it was to change my behaviors so I could pay off my debt.

Jillene Khan
St. Paul Community

The Year at a Glance

Beginning with the reopening of lobbies in February, we hoped to create more meaningful experiences for our members in 2021. We focused on driving most transactions to digital and self-service channels, allowing more time with our members for deeper conversations and solutions to more complex needs when they do come in to our branches.

Here for Members

  • Welcomed 19,000 new members in 2021, now serving 230,000
  • Remodeled branches in Mankato and Bemidji, and added Duluth (Lake Superior College)
  • Funded $189 million in first mortgages
  • Gave back $237,000 in rebates to members through our HomeAdvantage program.
  • Finalized the origination and forgiveness of 800 PPP loans to small businesses to aid them through the pandemic
  • Answered 525,448 phone calls from members

The Digital Age

  • Surpassed 151,000 total digital banking users (+8% from last year)
  • Surpassed 117,000 mobile banking app users (+13% from last year)
  • 44.8 million digital banking visits from members
  • 952,000 checks deposited with the mobile banking app
  • Helped members with 7,018 video banking sessions
  • Responded to over 116,078 secure messages

Awards & Honors

Green Trphy@2x

Forbes Best-in-State Credit Union

#1 in Minnesota

Callahan & Associates Designation for Top Member Value

#1 in the country

Energage Top Workplaces Designation National Award for Cultural Excellence for Employee Well Being

Awarded to the top 3% of 42,000 companies

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award

Awarded for the Coins for a Cause program

StarTribune Top 150 Places to Work in 2021

#7 in large companies

Social Responsibility

Affinity Plus worked toward a better future in 2021 in many ways, from direct donations and volunteer hours to providing more access to programs and services for underbanked members.

Our Business

  • Launched the Credit Builder and Plus It Vehicle lending opportunities, providing access to more than $1.1 million in loans to members.
  • Provided mortgage or refinancing for more than 1,000 underleveraged borrowers totaling more than $247 million, helping more people experience the joy of homeownership.
  • Helped more members build healthier savings habits with 8,776 new Stash Your Cash participants and 591 new WINcentive participants who saved more than $1 million through incremental savings during the year.
Dean Lundill-1000 WINcentive Winner-St Cloud
$1,000 WINcentive Winner

Our People

  • Employees volunteered 5,265 hours, including Plus It Forward Day, when all 500+ employees take the day do to some good and spread kindness in our communities.
  • Celebrated the graduation of 17 employees who earned an MBA through Metro State University, provided for free by Affinity Plus, helping them enrich their lives and communities.
  • Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an indicator of customer satisfaction, and we ranked at 6th industry-wide for our Digital NPS score (84.57) and first with 18-24-year-old members.
Graduation Day-horizontal-withLeaders
MBA Graduates

Our Community

  • Donated $359,474 to local and statewide nonprofit organizations to make Minnesota a better place to live, work, and do business.
  • Used $150,000 to promote awareness of and drive donations to causes we believe in.
  • Provided more than $180,000 to the Affinity Plus Foundation to provide more scholarships for students and financial grants for nonprofits and educators than ever before.
CoinsforCause2021@2x
Coins for a Cause

All Are Welcome

Affinity Plus put specific focus on our efforts to boost diversity, inclusion, and belonging in our communities in 2021, with new products, services, and a continued push for accessible banking for everyone. Here are a few examples:

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Bank Dora Financial

Made specifically for low-to-moderate income individuals who are currently underserved by the traditional banking industry, Dora provides an affordable checking account to bring modernized, digital banking to virtually everyone.

New American Loan

In collaboration with the City of St. Paul, the New American Loan provides no-interest loans to residents to pay for fees related to applications for naturalization or other immigration benefits, as well as continuing financial education, resources, and services.

Village Financial Cooperative

Affinity Plus joined the advisory board for the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP), a nonprofit group creating to establish Village Financial Credit Union, a Black-led credit union to that will directly address systemic financial challenges impacting Minneapolis residents.

Looking Forward to 2022

Expanded Products & Services

We're launching new products and services in early 2022. They'll include a Solar Loan (secured), VA Loan, Spending Account, and Early Pay.

Friends of the Foundation

Watch for our Friends of the Foundation program! For as little as $1 per month, Friends help the Affinity Plus Foundation provide pathways to careers and college, build more inclusive communities, support entrepreneurs, ensure our neighbors don’t go hungry, and so much more.

White Earth Nation

Our merger White Earth Reservation Federal Credit Union will be completed in 2022! We look forward to providing more access and financial products to the community of Mahnomen and the White Earth Reservation.