2023 Message from the President & CEO and Board Chair

As we look back on 2023, our journey through a challenging economic landscape was marked by steadfast dedication to serving you, our members. Amidst an environment of prolonged inflation, higher interest rates, and quantitative tightening, our focus on providing tailored advice and support has been more critical than ever. Our commitment to our core values has ensured that we continue to offer the best advice, products, and services, enabling our members to achieve their personal and financial goals.

Hearing directly from you highlights the impact of our efforts:

  • 'Your staff are the best. Always go the extra mile to help. I will never bank anywhere else.'
  • 'My wife and I were thrilled with the service offered. This was a breath of fresh air.'
  • 'I would recommend Mainstreet Credit Union as a banking option to anyone who appreciates authentic personal banking. We could feel that we were interacting as real people with a genuine person.'
  • 'Very good feeling. You feel like a person not a number!'
  • 'I found Mainstreet very open and willing to help. They listened to my needs and have exceeded my expectation. The customer service I got was well above the customer service I would receive from a big bank.'

These voices from our community are a testament to our shared values and the relationships we've built together. It's your feedback and trust that have led to an impressive 94% overall satisfaction score among our members. Each testimonial affirms our commitment to excellence and motivates us to continue enhancing our services, ensuring Mainstreet Credit Union remains a place where every member feels valued, known, and supported.

In navigating the complexities of today's financial landscape, we've faced our share of challenges head-on. While the higher interest rate environment boosted our interest income, it also increased the rates on deposits, prompting many of our members to shift their funds into term deposits. Additionally, the presence of an inverted yield curve, where short-term rates surpass long-term rates, presented a unique challenge not only to us but across the financial sector.

Despite these hurdles, which have strained credit unions everywhere with squeezed net interest margins and heightened expenses, Mainstreet Credit Union stands out for its resilience and strategic agility. Our management of these conditions has shielded us from much of the broader sector's struggles. We can highlight $1.6 million gain in our high-quality liquid asset portfolio resulting in a comprehensive income that surpassed last year's achievements. With a proactive approach to liquidity at the start of 2023, we were able to support a loan growth of 7.4% and expand our total assets by 4.7% - a testament to our strength and stability in a period marked by scarcity of growth.

Our Focus on Member Experience

With member experience guiding our decisions, this past year has seen innovative strides and meaningful growth for both our members and the credit union. Our dedication to enhancing your banking experience and financial well-being has yielded remarkable achievements. Alongside our continued investment in employee development, technology and enhanced security, we've had some other noteworthy achievements this year.

We streamlined our operations to better serve you, eliminating 132 barriers that made it harder to bank with us. Now, whether you're opening an account, getting a loan, or making transactions, it's simpler and more straightforward.

We introduced debit Mastercard, providing you with greater flexibility and security for your transactions, both online and in-store, and prepared for the launch of our Open Anytime self-serve platform, which marks a milestone in our mission to offer you banking services on your terms, available 24/7 with the convenience and efficiency you deserve.

We were one of the first financial institutions in Ontario to offer the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), providing an opportunity for members to achieve their dreams of homeownership. This innovative savings tool facilitates more efficient saving with its tax-advantaged features and represents our commitment to supporting your milestones and financial aspirations.

Additionally, our investments in the physical spaces where we meet and serve you are progressing well. The renovation of our London Road branch in Sarnia and the development of our new Petrolia branch are designed with your comfort and accessibility in mind, aiming to create welcoming spaces where you can engage with our services and community.

Finally, in a tangible demonstration of our commitment to delivering value, we reduced service charges from $3.2 million to $2.9 million. This reduction represents our continuous effort to enhance affordability and our belief in fair and transparent banking.

Sharing our Success

In 2023, our dedication to sharing success with our members and communities remained stronger than ever. We returned over $1 million to our members, exceeding our target of 20% of our operating income. This was achieved through interest on investment, member, and patronage shares at an exceptional rate of 5.71% this year. Notably, we adapted our dividend strategy to benefit our members even more, paying dividends based on the average of our highest rates plus 1% due to the unique rate environment.

Our commitment extended into the communities we serve, with 5% of our operating income-almost $189,000-supporting various local events. This year, we were proud to support several initiatives like the YMCA Fill the Bus, sending 67 kids to camp across all of our communities, the United Way Stair Climb to help marginalized individuals in our region and Pride festivals in Chatham, Sarnia and Strathroy. We hosted lunch and learns with the Sarnia Chamber and facilitated 16 educational sessions to help our community learn about several financial topics. In addition to financial assistance, the volunteerism and strong community ties demonstrated by our team members reflect the heart of Mainstreet Credit Union. With our team contributing a total of 1500 volunteer hours across 81 events, it's evident that our dedication to our community remains strong. You can take a deeper dive into our community impact on page 7.

Looking forward

As we look towards the future after a year of growth and learning, we are excited to continue our journey of change and innovation. At Mainstreet Credit Union, we are committed to navigating the evolving financial landscape with our members' best interests at heart. Our core values - making every member feel known, ensuring they are valued, providing easy and personalized banking experiences - will guide us as we move forward.

We are dedicated to deepening our understanding of your needs, enhancing our ability to serve you in ways that truly matter. By investing in technology that simplifies banking, offering products that meet your financial goals, and maintaining our role as a cornerstone of community support, we aim to position Mainstreet Credit Union as a leader in member-focused banking.

The road ahead is filled with opportunities for growth and improvement. Together, with your feedback and our commitment to our values, we will continue to evolve, ensuring Mainstreet Credit Union remains a place where you are not just a member, but a valued part of our community. We look forward to making the future even brighter, together.

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