At Greater Nevada, our passion To Help More People Live Greater was a beacon to our members and communities while dealing with the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Through agile changes in tactics, we were able to keep branches open to serve our members, while following CDC protocols to keep our members and staff safe. We furthered investments into ways for members to access our services digitally, while expanding our physical footprint to serve more communities. We offered financial assistance in the form of refinances and forbearances to members suffering financially. We led the state as the credit union with the most involvement in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), while opening doors to financial assistance to businesses that had been turned away by other institutions. We maintained our commitment to community investments and recognized areas with newfound needs.
In 2020, Greater Nevada invested over $442,000 in our local communities, and our team members volunteered for more than 1,400 hours with nonprofit and charitable organizations. Here are some of the ways we gave back to Nevadans:
Launching the Audacity Fund
A $25,000 contribution provided the initial funding to the Audacity Fund’s $2 million capital campaign to invest in supporting northern Nevada businesses owned by women, minorities and other underserved populations.
Coffee Is On Us
When we heard that principals at some Washoe County schools were buying coffee for their staff out of their own pockets, we partnered with a locally owned food truck, Java Ship, to provide plenty of cups of gratitude for WCSD employees. In the first month of the program, more than 25 schools were visited. This expression of gratitude to our community educators will continue in 2021.
Recognizing the Greater Good
After a two-month community-driven nomination process, we selected 19 local leaders to recognize with a $250 donation to the nonprofit of their choice. We also recognized each recipient with a video on our Facebook page.
The Education Alliance Laptop Drive
Greater Nevada donated $10,000 and collected gently used laptops and computer equipment for Education Alliance as part of its laptop drive for Washoe County School District students. This collaboration with Education Alliance and Reno Cigar Lions Club resulted in 58 laptops and 10 desktops for county students.
Donating To Fire Relief Efforts
Greater Nevada donated $10,000 each to three credit unions coordinating relief efforts in California and Oregon. Greater Nevada also donated $2,500 to the American Red Cross in support of its disaster relief efforts.
Disaster Assistance Loans
In response to the summer fires in Northern Nevada, Greater Nevada made its Disaster Assistance Loan Program, which includes waived origination and short-term financing, available to any qualifying Nevada resident suffering from those events.
Scholarships Supporting Graduates
More than 30 Nevada students in the class of 2020 received $60,000 in scholarships to continue their academic pursuits through the GNCU Scholarship Program. In the past 20 years, Greater Nevada has helped 350 students pursue their educational goals and awarded more than $490,000 in such assistance.
Greater Perks For More Organizations
Our Greater Perks program extends special benefits, financial wellness presentations, budgeting courses and several other programs and services for employers. Participating organizations who offer these benefits to their employees include the State of Nevada, Renown Health, Washoe County School District, Reno Aces, University of Nevada, Carson Tahoe Health and the City of Fernley to name just a few.
Keeping Our Healthcare Workers Safer
Greater Nevada donated 1,000 masks to Carson Tahoe Health to support the healthcare staff working tirelessly during the pandemic.
Girls On The Run On The Field
To support Girls on the Run Sierras, Greater Nevada sponsored the nonprofit’s Fall 5K at Greater Nevada Field. Greater Nevada volunteers also handed out snacks, held a raffle, and cheered on the participants.
Greater Giving Supports Those In Need during The Holidays
Our Greater Giving donations drive collected more than 450 gallons of food, toys, and clothing (and two toddler bikes!) that went directly to local nonprofits in our Nevada communities during the holiday season.
Helping Students Benefit From TEDXUniveryofNevada
Greater Nevada awarded students attending TEDXUniversityofNevada with a $30 deposit into their Share Savings account.
Bite Of Reality Goes Virtual
The nation’s first virtual Bite of Reality offered students a hands-on simulation designed to give teens a taste of real-world financial situations, providing a free financial education program through new channels.
Greater Value For Members
Because we’re member-owned, earnings are shared with members in a variety of ways. In 2020, that included rewarding our members with:
New Branches Open In Elko And Sparks
Greater Nevada’s new Vista Boulevard location at 120 Salomon Court in Sparks, just a block away from Interstate 80’s Vista Boulevard exit, has three ITMs, video lending capabilities, and a dedicated Greater Nevada Mortgage loan consultant. The branch’s foyer is accessible to GNCU members 24/7 by swiping your debit card at the door and is home to an ITM and a coin deposit machine that’s free for members to use.
The new Elko location at 1211 Idaho Street is the first in the area to feature a drive-up ITM and a machine that allows members to deposit the entire value of their coins directly into their accounts with no fees. The branch also has a private room for video lending that enables members to speak directly with an expert loan consultant.
Bill Discovery Makes Paying Bills Easier
Banking with Greater Nevada got even easier in 2020 with the new Bill Discovery feature available in Personal eBranch. This new technology identifies what bills are available to pay from its secure biller network. Then payment details are immediately added to a member’s bill pay account from the selected recommended bills and can be updated at any time.
More ITMs For More Access
Greater Nevada added 15 new Interactive Teller Machines in Dayton, Minden, Reno, Sparks, Elko, and Carson City. ITMs offer ATMs’ convenience, with the ability to speak with a member service representative via video. This technology allowed more people to manage their finances while also reducing their face-toface interactions. Greater Nevada currently has 29 ITMs throughout the state of Nevada, the largest fleet in the state.
To continue improving members’ experiences with our online platforms, Greater Nevada invested in upgrades to Personal eBranch Online and Mobile Banking, Business eBranch Online and Mobile Banking, and GNCU Cards app. Enhancements included additional security features, the ability for members to pay off their loans via online banking, quick view of accounts at the login screen, and more.
Text Lending Launched
To make it even easier to apply for a loan, Greater Nevada launched a “Text to Apply” program. This convenient option allows borrowers to communicate with loan consultants via their mobile phones.
Business eBranch Launches
A new platform for commercial checking members launched in January, bringing a long-awaited mobile app and QuickBooks integration. The new commercial platform saw over 26,000 transactions that moved more than $1.1 billion in commercial funds in 2020.
Greater Nevada Family
GNCU’s wholly owned subsidiaries—Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM), Greater Commercial Lending (GCL) and Greater Nevada Insurance (GNI)—further Greater Nevada’s passion To Help More People Live Greater by delivering a variety of services to members, clients and communities.
Greater Commercial Lending (GCL)
2020 set new records for commercial lending activity, fueled by our desire to help businesses navigate the year’s unprecedented challenges. The need for economic stimulus due to the COVID-19 pandemic was overwhelming, and GCL stepped up to the plate. By being one of the few institutions in the Silver State to actively participate in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), GCL was able to bring relief to more than 2,100 Nevada businesses with funding of more than $130 million.
GCL also funded more than $300 million in other loans guaranteed by the USDA and SBA, and provided job-saving assistance to numerous struggling businesses across the nation by modifying loan terms and delivering payment relief.
Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM)
GNM provided a record year of service for clients with a total of $405.9 million in new mortgages and refinances. GNM also went out of the way to defer payments for clients suffering economic hardship due to the pandemic’s financial toll. GNM also launched Consumer Connect, a new online application portal that provides a better digital experience for borrowers.
Greater Nevada Insurance (GNI)
GNI exists not only to save people money on their insurance policies, but to truly help them Live Greater by listening to their stories and understanding their needs. This added level of care is what makes GNI stand out within the insurance industry. By asking questions such as “Are you covered for the things that matter most,” GNI provided valuable council to help their clients navigate the changes brought on by the pandemic. GNI brought more comprehensive and appropriate coverage to a total of 174 new policyholders in 2020.
Helping Our Community Thorughout the Decades
Nevada State Employees Federal Credit Union is chartered on January 24, 1949 and operated by the Nevada Employment Security Department employees in their Carson City offices. By the end of the 1950s, the credit union has 1,300 members.
The credit union's first branch opens on Second Street in Carson City, and a full-time staff is hired to serve the growing membership.
Member demand for new services brings about share draft checking accounts and direct deposit. Ongoing membership growth leads to building a larger branch and new headqarters in Carson City. By the close of 1979, the credit union has nearly 9,000 members.
The organization's name changes to Nevada Community Federal Credit Union. Memebrship includes empoloyees of several hundred different companies. New branches in Minden and Ely are acquired via mergers with Bentley FCU and Steptoe FCU.
Home mortgages, HELOCs, Credit cards, and money market accounts are rolled out, and the Phone Activated Teller becomes one of Nevada's first automated banking systems. Membership reaches 17,000 at the close of 1989.
A shift from federal to state charter brings a new name: Greater Nevada Credit Union. New branches are added in Reno and West Wndover via mergers with Reno FCU and Nevada Cooperative CU, along with a new branch in Sparks and an educational branch at Carson High School.
GNCU rolls out a new member service phone center with extended hours and a network of ATMs. A new, larger GNCU headquarters office is built in south Carson City. Members gain account access via gncu.org and eBranch 24/7 online banking. The dcade closes with more than 40,000 members.
The new millennium sees branches opened in Spanish Springs, Dayton, and north Carson City. Commercial checking and lending services are introduced, as well as ePay online bill pay. GNCU's annual scholarship program is launched, and its first subsidiary company, Greater Nevada Mortgage, is formed. The field of membership is expanded into eight counties, and the credit union surpasses 50,000 members at the close of 2009.
New branches open in northwest Reno, Golden Valley, Elko, Fernley, and across from the University of Nevada, Reno. Greater Nevada Mortgage opens its first office in southern Nevada. Mobile banking is introduced, followed by Interactive Teller Machines and Video Lending. Field of membership grows to include all counties in Nevada, and mergers with White Pine County FCU and Frontier Financial Credit Union are completed. New private student loans are offered. Greater Nevada Insurance and Greater Commercial Lending are added as the second and third wholly owned subsidiary companies. GNCU becomes the title sponsor of Greater Nevada Field in Reno. 2019 closes with more than 73,000 memebers, and GNCU becomes the largest Nevada-based financial institution at more than $1 billion in assets.
While 2020 was a year that might deserve its own volume in the history textbooks, it also started a new decade of Greater Nevada serving its members and community. We remained committed to our passion throughout this tumultuous time by seeking additional ways to help more people Live Greater. The credit union opened new branches in Sparks and Elko, leveraged technology in adaptive and innovative ways, and quickly supported our commercial members through each round of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. While social distancing and other safety measures may have kept us physically apart, our Greater Nevadans stayed connected to their communities by finding new ways to volunteer and support people and organizations.
New Features in 2020
We partnered with Zelle—a fast, easy and safe way to send and receive money—with overwhelmingly positive results. Now members have a faster and easier way to send and receive money to almost any bank account in the United States, typically within minutes, with just an email address or phone number.
Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.
Digital Banking Resource Center
From transferring money to Bill Pay, we compiled all the convenient ways to bank with us without stepping foot in a branch in our new Digital Banking Resource Center. It can be found at GNCU.org/Digital.
Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) experienced disruption as the year 2020 unfolded. A year that was off to a promising start quickly changed in early March as the impacts of a global pandemic began to emerge. Many of our members suffered from work layoffs, permanent job loss, and illness. Home dislocations, child care interruptions, adjusted school routines, businesses closing, and increased numbers of people working from home became struggles that had to be addressed and resolved.
When the COVID-19 virus seriousness became clearer, and safety and health measures began being imposed by governmental agencies, GNCU responded quickly as an essential business by not only “keeping the lights on” in our branches but also by determining how we were going to keep our members and employees safe and protected during the ongoing pandemic. We were also determined to assist our members with their financial needs with the least amount of disruption for as long as necessary. For members who preferred to come into one of our physical branches, a policy of maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting numbers of members in a branch at one time, was implemented immediately. Employees who could complete work assignments and duties from home were required to do so as a further safety measure. In addition, stringently frequent cleaning protocols were adopted across all Greater Nevada facilities.
As the year progressed, Greater Nevada had an opportunity to help members and our communities experiencing financial distress. Emergency loans at low rates and various fee waivers were offered to our members. Some 2,000 members were provided COVID related consumer loan deferments. Our two subsidiary companies were strong participants in relief efforts:
- Greater Nevada Mortgage originated more than $400 million in loans while forbearances were also granted to mortgage borrowers.
- Greater Commercial Lending processed more than $583 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as part of the U. S. CARES Act.
- Greater Commercial Lending originated $300 million in other business loans during the year.
Record consumer loan production was another highlight for the year, with nearly $200 million in fundings. However, our record loan results did not yield the interest income we targeted due to the low interest rate environment. Nevertheless, non-interest income was exceptionally strong and ended the year at over $26 million.
GNCU paid a total of $2.83 million in dividends to members via share and Aspire Checking accounts, and another $1.1 million to those with certificates of deposit. Financial data can be found in other sections of this report; however, it’s worth noting here that our membership growth from 2019 to 2020 was 6.7%, with GNCU ending the year at 78,340 members. Asset growth came in at 27.6%, and net worth growth at 12.7%.
Greater Nevada’s commitment to our members and communities continued throughout the year. Our employees contributed over 1,400 hours to various charities in their home communities. Additionally, significant financial help was donated to organizations including the University of Nevada Reno Marching Band, Wolf Pack Athletics, Renown Foundation, TEDxU Program and Girls on the Run, all in Washoe County; Western Nevada College in Carson City; Great Basin College in Elko County; and to many other organizations in these counties and in Clark, Douglas, Lyon, and White Pine Counties. Statewide, Special Olympics Nevada continues to be a major organization that GNCU supports.
The credit union’s support for our Scholarship Program awarded $60,000 in 2020 to graduates from Nevada high schools to assist them with tuition expenses related to colleges, trade schools, and other qualifying career training institutions. Our 20-year program has provided financial help to 350 students, with over $490,000 awarded to date. Students have attended schools both within Nevada and in many other states as our program allows them to use their scholarship monies to meet their educational goals.
If there was a silver lining to the rapidly moving, changing environment of 2020 caused by COVID-19 and the resulting business turmoil in the economy, it was our steadfast commitment to serving members as they were accustomed to by using the multiple avenues of service GNCU provides. Those included eBranch on-line banking, expanded mobile banking for both personal and business needs, the GNCU debit card app and Phone Activated Teller (PAT) telephone banking. One of the most well-received enhancements came in December when we added a fast and easy way to send and receive money to others, be they family, friends or business associates, via Zelle. That mobile service allows members to transfer money quickly, safely and securely from a GNCU account to another person using an email address or mobile phone number.
I am also pleased to report to our friends and neighbors in Elko and Sparks that our newest walk-in, full service branches were completed and opened during the year. The downtown Elko branch at 1211 Idaho Street and the Sparks Vista branch one block from Interstate 80 at the Vista Blvd. exit have the usual conveniences along with the newest Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs). The ITMs provide convenience of real time video chat with one of our live service representatives, and are quick and easy to use.
Greater Nevada played a significant role in keeping its members on solid financial ground during the turbulent months of 2020. We look forward to continuing the service you expect as we help our members “Live Greater.”
— Bill Arensdorf, Board Chair
It almost seems an understatement to say that 2020 was “one for the ages.” There is little doubt that it was a unique 12-month period in a number of ways. A pandemic that spawned
numerous different types of responses from countries across the globe, increasing pressures to address social justice issues, and a turbulent political season, were just some of the situations facing Nevadans during the year. Those factors often made it difficult for many people to feel any sense of real stability in their lives. Fortunately, one of the things that the 78,000 plus members of Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) could count on throughout was their member-owned, community focused financial institution.
Other parts of this Annual Report contain information about many of the incredible financial accomplishments by GNCU and its affiliated companies (Greater Nevada Mortgage, Greater
Commercial Lending and Greater Nevada Insurance) during 2020, so I’ll avoid repeating those details here. However, from a broad based perspective, it is fair to say that your Credit
Union performed admirably. That was largely due to the steadfast commitment of its outstanding Board of Directors, who are elected directly from the GNCU membership, its other
volunteers, and the incredible 325 employees of the Greater Nevada companies. As a result, Greater Nevada wrapped up the year by establishing numerous records and garnering the recognition of organizations that closely monitor such matters. That includes yet another 5-Star rating by Bauer Financial, a highly respected ratings organization, and numerous community accolades as Best Financial Institution, Best Mortgage Company, Lender of the Year, and Best Place to Work.
As the largest financial institution based within the bounds of Nevada, Greater Nevada once again demonstrated its commitment to the Silver State and its residents during the past year in a variety of ways. Delivering financial relief and assistance to members, monetary and emotional support to community organizations, healthcare workers and educators, and financial education to a variety of audiences throughout the year, your Credit Union and its affiliates continued to rise to the occasion when challenges arose for Nevadans. As a result, Greater
Nevada provided nearly $450,000 in direct financial support to community organizations and in individual scholarships during 2020, not to mention over 1,400 hours of volunteer support by our wonderful staff.
It remains important to recognize a key reason why Greater Nevada can be so effective in delivering positive impacts to families, companies and communities across the state, and even the nation; it’s because we don’t pursue growth for growth’s sake or measure success solely by maximizing profits to benefit a few major stockholders. Instead, as a true financial cooperative that operates as a not-for-profit entity, we focus our energies and resources on doing more good in the world through helping more people Live Greater. That’s why we exist, and it’s what we are truly passionate about. It’s also why we don’t ever stop looking for more ways to be of assistance.
If you’re a GNCU member, then hopefully you recognize that difference in our genuine interest in helping you realize your ambitions and dreams, while also being willing to assist you during times when things may not be going as smoothly in your life as you hoped. We take that responsibility very seriously and look forward to the continued opportunity to serve you in the future. We also invite you to tell others about Greater Nevada… but only if they’re interested in becoming part of a financial institution that is truly interested in helping them Live Greater.
— Wally Murray — President/CEO
The roller coaster ride of 2020 has come to an end! The year was filled with pandemic related challenges, but the financial successes of Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) and the Greater Nevada companies cannot be overlooked. I am pleased to report that our Credit Union, through adherence to sound fiscal policies, continues to be in excellent financial condition.
The business plan approved by your Board of Directors and the management team to address economic changes and manage growth continues to work very well.
At the end of 2020, the credit union’s membership stood at 78,340. Total assets grew by 27.6% to $1.36 billion. Deposits increased by $269 million to $1.20 billion, marking the first time in our Credit Union’s 71 year history they exceeded the $1 billion threshold. The GNCU loan portfolio similarly crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time, with incredible growth of nearly 54% to $1.01 billion. That increase was driven by total loan production during 2020 across the Greater Nevada companies of an astounding $1.45 billion.
A substantial part of that loan growth was related to Greater Nevada’s strong support of small businesses in Nevada, and across the nation, through its active participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that provided forgivable loans to companies suffering sizable business losses as a result of COVID-19. Greater Commercial Lending (GCL), the business financing subsidiary of GNCU, successfully provided support to thousands of companies across America, more than 2,100 of which were in Nevada, with funding of over $583 million. That made Greater Nevada the top provider of such SBA PPP support among the nation’s nearly 5,000 credit unions.
In addition, GCL continued its strong track record of lending to assist rural based companies via programs supported by guarantees from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For the fourth year in the last five, GCL was recognized by the USDA as its National Lender of the Year. The combination of those stellar efforts pushed total loan production for GCL above $848 million during 2020.
However, it would be a mistake to ascribe the 2020 lending success of our Credit Union entirely to the commercial arena. Greater Nevada also saw record levels of lending during the year within its mortgage and consumer areas as well. Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM), the wholly owned home lending subsidiary of GNCU, had a record year that was spurred by continually low interest rates that helped make purchasing and refinancing homes more affordable. During 2020, GNM generated more than 1,700 home loans for nearly $406 million. That was almost 50% higher than the previous single year record for the company. Meanwhile, consumer lending within GNCU helped finance automobiles, recreational vehicles and unsecured lending needs for over 7,500 members totaling nearly $199 million. That was also a record year of loan production for that vitally important arm of the Credit Union.
The Greater Nevada companies also worked hard during 2020 to assist members and clients navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19. As people and businesses faced uncertainties about their incomes, GNCU and its affiliates provided relief in a number of important ways. Hundreds of borrowers were granted no-cost forbearances on their consumer and real estate loans, for as long as six months, which provided them with the breathing room necessary to recover and get their financial situations back on track. In further recognition of the need to assist borrowers who were adversely affected by the pandemic, collateral repossession and foreclosure activity was suspended for a majority of the year. In addition, zero interest short-term loans were made available to GNCU members, and over 14,000 account and loan related fees were also waived for folks who were facing challenges.
Greater Nevada Credit Union continues to receive high marks for safety and soundness from our regulators and examiners, due to our strong planning, prudent management and high quality service. Your Board of Directors and outstanding management team are firmly committed to maintaining this healthy financial position to earn your continued loyalty and trust.
— Travis Lee, Treasurer
Greater Nevada Credit Union’s Audit Committee is comprised of five volunteer members who are appointed annually by the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee oversees the activities
of the credit union and ensures that member funds and interests are responsibly maintained and protected. To help with these responsibilities, the Committee retained an independent firm to conduct the annual audit for the year ending December 31, 2020. That audit covers the consolidated operations of both Greater Nevada Credit Union and its subsidiaries.
During the most recent fiscal year, the Committee conducted internal audits of departments within the credit union, utilizing external consultants. The recommendations from these audits
resulted in refinements to enhance the internal controls and efficiencies of the credit union’s operations. The Committee will continue to personally review branch operations for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations as well as established policies and procedures. The current pandemic has curtailed these reviews due to our concern for the well being of employees and members; however they will continue when it is safe to do so.
The Committee also investigates unresolved member concerns at the request of the Board of Directors.
The Committee appreciates and values Greater Nevada Credit Union’s Board of Directors, management, and staff and their commitment to providing members with quality services, while maintaining the safety and soundness of the credit union.