“The financial services industry is the most regulated industry in the world,” so says the president of the Cato Institute in a recently published business magazine article.
It’s not surprising that I would open my remarks with comments regarding the cost of regulatory compliance this past year. We all concur that regulations are necessary in today’s environment of never ending threats from cyber bullies out to steal your personal financial information; but, the cost of compliance is expensive. Case in point, in order to comply with a minor change to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union had to replace all of its ATMs (twenty-seven of them) with new ones. That’s the cost of a new full-service branch.
Much attention and resources have been targeted at our Information Services department including upgrades to our mainframe and enhanced security measures in order to better protect our members’ financial data from compromise. Many of these upgrades are required and unfortunately sometimes are not as seamless as we would like. One federal agency issued a compliance letter requiring financial institutions to strengthen and enhance controls of home banking programs by January 1, 2013. The new authentication controls, as written, are onerous and caused a disruption in service for a number of our members trying to access their accounts. With many more regulations being drafted, your staff will be working diligently to make the transition to these new policies as painless as possible.
Our accomplishments were not just limited to compliance issues. Our new Operations Center in Daleville and a new motorbank and ATM on the south side of Enterprise were opened in the third quarter of 2012.
While our country saw its credit rating downgraded in 2012, for sixteen consecutive years, Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union received the highest rating for safety and soundness from Bauer Financial, Inc., a national financial rating service. Weiss Rating Service, another independent rating service, gave your Credit Union an “A” for solvency and safety. Fewer than two percent of the nation’s credit unions meet these financial criteria.
In our Mobile market, we were excited to hear the announcement that the French-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus will be building a $600 million assembly plant just down the street from our new branch at Brookley Aeroplex. Our five branches in the Mobile Bay area are strategically located to serve the many potential employees to be hired at the new plant. The Mobile market currently generates twenty percent of Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union’s business.
In closing, I remain optimistic of the opportunities I see for the continued growth and success of our Credit Union in 2013. I would like to thank all of our members for allowing our team of professionals to serve your family’s financial needs this past year.
Jim H. Mitchell