Board Chair's Report
What a spectacular year we experienced in 2017 at Greater Nevada Credit Union and our affiliates! Membership neared 65,000 while assets exceeded $875 million, ranking GNCU second among Nevada-based credit unions. Meanwhile, our unceasing commitment to safety and soundness led to GNCU maintaining its net worth ratio at a healthy 9.7%, despite the tremendous growth of the credit union. Indeed, in all measures including deposit growth, loan growth and access to products and services, our member-owners welcomed expansion and enhancements this past year. We can certainly all be proud of the strides our credit union made during 2017.
One significant development during the year was our decision to merge with Frontier Financial Credit Union at the request of its member-owners, and we gladly welcomed their 6,700 members into the proud family of GNCU membership. That merger truly benefited the former FFCU member-owners by providing them with expanded products and more convenient services, additional branch locations and better pricing. At the same time, it also allowed us to expand GNCU’s presence and market share in Washoe County, which is a key goal of our strategic planning.
In addition, in early January 2018, we opened our new headquarters branch on Eagle Station Lane in Carson City to better serve our members. The look and feel of the new facility has received rave reviews from those who have experienced it, and we will be looking to similarly enhance other GNCU locations in the future, even as we further expand our branch network.
Accolades abounded for GNCU as we were once again voted Best Financial Institution in the Nevada Appeal’s Best of Carson City, Best Bank/Credit Union in the Record Courier’s Best of Carson Valley, and Best Credit Union and Best Bank in the Reno News and Review’s Best of Northern Nevada. Also, in the first-ever Reno.com and Nevada Magazine Best of Reno, GNCU received a silver award in the Best Bank/Credit Union category. In addition, GNCU was voted in the top three for the Best Lender, Commercial and Consumer categories and Greater Nevada Mortgage was selected as the Best Mortgage Lender by the readers of the Elko Daily Free Press.
GNCU was also proud to be honored for the second consecutive year by the United States Department of Agriculture as its top lender, exceeding all other banks and credit unions in the entire nation. This relationship with the USDA has provided loans to members for business and job creation, retention and expansion. The loan program complements our expanded line of business services, consumer loans, mortgage services and personal loan programs that are tailored to our members’ needs. The continued success of our commercial loan program resulted in the decision to establish a new wholly owned subsidiary, Greater Commercial Lending. This new entity joined the other established GNCU subsidiaries, Greater Nevada Mortgage and Greater Nevada Insurance, in providing increased access to those product lines and enhanced service to our membership.
Our management and staff continue to excel not only in their day-to-day assignments but also in volunteer service to the community. In 2017, in keeping with their Passion “To Help More People Live Greater,” the employees logged thousands of volunteer hours, providing support for a broad range of charitable causes. Greater Nevada also continues to support many worthy causes, including the UNR Wolf Pack Marching Band, Northern California and Nevada Special Olympics, and post-secondary education scholarships to deserving students.
Looking forward to the remainder of 2018, your board and management will continue to advocate on behalf of GNCU and the credit union movement with state and federal administrative agencies and elected officials. We face constant challenges with regulations that would limit our ability to serve our member-owners to their best advantage. With support from our leagues and associates, rest assured that we are ever vigilant and engaged on your behalf. In recent years, this attentiveness and dedication resulted in our ability to provide the commercial services that many of our business-owning members enjoy and that are now a key component of our financial health.
At GNCU, we never lose sight of the fact that our mission is to continually adapt to and serve the financial needs of our members and assist in improving their communities. Therefore, I want to thank the member-owners, employees, my fellow Directors, the Audit Committee and all the other volunteers for their support and dedication resulting in the overall success of the institution.
On behalf of your Board of Directors, I wish everyone a very productive and safe 2018 and encourage you to consider the full array of products and services offered by your credit union. Your continued success and prosperity as we embark on our 70th year of service is our highest priority.
2017 was another in a string of highly successful years for Greater Nevada Credit Union. In fact, on nearly every front our 69th year was far and away the finest in the history of this institution. Other areas of this year’s annual report provide further details regarding our unprecedented success during 2017, so I won’t reiterate them here. Instead, I’ll focus on the main driver of our success: our team of 270 talented people and their unending dedication to delivering on our Passion “To Help More People Live Greater.”
That commitment puts our members, clients and communities in the forefront of everything we do at Greater Nevada, and its impact is clear in the incredible results we’ve achieved together. It was an extraordinary year for our people, with significant challenges that were overcome and big opportunities that were converted into triumphs. Our team is a wonderful group that grows stronger every day, and I am very proud to be associated with them.
I also want to convey my personal appreciation to the former members of Frontier Financial Credit Union, who expressed tremendous confidence and trust in our team when they decided to merge into Greater Nevada. We appreciate that it was not an easy decision, and we remain committed to ensuring those newest GNCU members receive the high-quality, caring service and outstanding products that are our hallmark.
Actually, that’s a statement which holds true for how we seek to serve every GNCU member, regardless of when or how you came to Be Part of Something Greater. Even as we continue to experience incredible growth and achievement, we incessantly strive to remain true to the Core Values that guide us to continually honor that commitment. Since 1949, those six precepts, none of which have anything to do with money, have been at the foundation of how this credit union serves its members and communities. Those Core Values remain vitally important to the way we conduct ourselves at Greater Nevada, and we work hard to ensure the decisions we make and actions we take do not cause us to stray from them.
It has remained a huge privilege to have the opportunity to help so many families and businesses realize their dreams and ambitions for yet another year. I thank all of GNCU’s nearly 65,000 members for your willingness to allow our team the opportunity to be your trusted financial services provider. We look forward to having even further opportunities in the future to help you Live Greater!
President and CEO
I am pleased to report that Greater Nevada Credit Union continues to be financially strong, and 2017 brought continued record-setting performance as we saw total membership grow to over 64,000, an increase of nearly 10,000 for the year.
Meanwhile, assets grew to $875 million, up $198 million over 2016. Our merger with Frontier Financial Credit Union, along with our strong internal performance, brought total deposits to $748 million, an increase of $145 million. Also, as a result of that merger, the addition of two branches means that Greater Nevada can now serve its members from 14 locations throughout Nevada.
During 2017, your credit union and its affiliates funded nearly $165 million in consumer loans, $189 million in mortgage loans and $343 million in commercial loans, reflecting how members continue to favor our competitive pricing and excellent service. That combined funding of nearly $700 million for the year was by far an all-time high for Greater Nevada and one of the highest ever posted by a credit union in the state. Total loans outstanding to members grew to $567 million at the end of the year, which was up from $458 million in 2016.
In terms of safety and soundness, it is worth noting that the only source of capital for credit unions is their earnings. Net earnings for GNCU during 2017 were $12.3 million, an increase of $4.2 million from the previous year. Those earnings combined with the capital acquired via the merger meant that GNCU finished 2017 at over $84 million in total capital. That is nearly $18 million more than our capital level at the end of 2016, a continuing sign your credit union remains on a sound path to balanced growth.
Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM), the credit union’s wholly-owned mortgage subsidiary, closed the year with net income of nearly $1.5 million. Loan originations to borrowers were $189 million, a slight decline from 2016. The ability of GNM to provide funding to new home buyers, and refinancing on the part of existing homeowners at competitive rates, is yet another indication your credit union wants to provide services beyond checking and savings. In addition, the GNM philosophy of locally servicing the vast majority of its loans is demonstrated by our mortgage servicing portfolio reaching $707 million, an increase of $13 million over 2016.
Greater Nevada Credit Union continues to receive high marks for safety and soundness from our regulators and examiners, an important measure of our financial strength and stability. Your Board of Directors and outstanding management team are firmly committed to maintaining our excellent financial position to earn your continued trust and loyalty.
Audit Committee Report
Greater Nevada Credit Union’s Audit Committee is comprised of four 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 opinion audit for the year ending December 31, 2017. 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 has and will continue to personally review branch operations for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations as well as established policies and procedures.
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.
Audit Committee Chair
Greater Nevada's Leadership
Board of Directors
Rob Joiner, Chair
Bill Arensdorf, Vice Chair
Alex Talmant, Treasurer
Jon Steele, Secretary
Barbara Byington, Director
Vernon Dalton, Director
Paul Richey, Director
Daniel Thomas, Chair
Cathy Hill, Member
Dan Reaser, Member
Steve Watson, Member
Wally Murray, President/CEO
Dean Altus, EVP/COO
Joyce Whitney-Silva, EVP/CFO
James Anderson, EVP Mortgage Lending
Jeremy Gilpin, EVP Commercial Lending
Pictured L-R: New Eagle Station Branch in Carson City, NV; GNCU is the Title Sponsor of Greater Nevada Field in Reno, NV; GNCU volunteers at Carson Middle School STEM’s Open House; Greater Commercial Lending EVP Jeremy Gilpin accepts GNCU’s USDA Lender of the Year award from Ann Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development
Delivering More Member Service
Greater Nevada Credit Union’s Passion “To Help More People Live Greater” begins with serving our members, who are also our owners. Throughout the year, we continued to add more ways for members to improve their well-being with exclusive services and offers such as:
- Two new branches in Sparks and Reno and more Greater Nevada employees to serve members through Frontier Financial Credit Union’s merger into GNCU.
- Began construction on two more branches, one located across campus at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the other next to the Eagle Station headquarters in Carson City. Both feature the latest technology, including Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) that serve as ATMs with the option to speak with a member service representative via video.
- In addition to the 30,000 plus fee-free ATMs and more than 5,000 shared branching centers already available to our members nationwide, GNCU added over 80 more fee-free ATMs throughout the state, including at the University of Nevada, Reno and locations in southern Nevada.
Expanding Opportunities at Greater Nevada Field
GNCU completed a second successful year as the title sponsor of Greater Nevada Field (GNF), home to Reno Aces baseball and Reno 1868 FC soccer. The sponsorship offered numerous opportunities for members and community members:
- GNCU members had access to more special offers and events, including a chance to win a Major League Baseball spring training trip, and enjoy ticket discounts for all Aces baseball games and the new Reno 1868 FC soccer matches.
- The Greater Nevada Credit Union Community Partners Program, run by the Reno Aces, expanded to include monthly recognitions and prizes for the top nonprofit fundraisers. In 2017, $77,000 was raised for more than 70 participating organizations.
- In addition to professional sports games, GNF hosted activities such as concerts, a haunted house and an outdoor ice skating rink, providing year-long exposure to the Greater Nevada brand. With more than 500 reviews and counting on TripAdvisor from locals and visitors, Greater Nevada Field was ranked number two out of 124 attractions in the ‘Top 10 Things to Do in Reno’ category in 2017.
- Greater Nevada Credit Union is proud to be the official financial services provider of the Reno Aces and Reno 1868 FC.
Commitment to Financial Wellness
GNCU is committed to providing products, services and resources to members and community members to help them improve their financial wellness. Those efforts continued to grow in 2017:
- Launched a free online financial education center at gncu.org. This interactive program provides 25 self-guided modules that address a wide range of topics ranging from estate planning and credit scores to establishing budgets, borrowing money and avoiding identity theft.
- Became the sponsor of Nevada Money Mentors, a program offered by the University of Nevada, Reno, which provides financial education through campus outreach programs. That includes workshops, presentations and in-class sessions on topics such as budgeting, debt management, salary negotiation and identity theft.
- Provided financial education through the Bite of Reality program, designed to teach young people the basics of finance and provide a better understanding of living on a budget. In 2017, 373 students participated in the program, which expanded into more high schools, as well as the University of Nevada, Reno.
- Presented on topics such as budgeting, career options, borrowing and income to more than 500 people through participation in school career days, Advocates to End Domestic Violence, Western Nevada College and other organizations.
- Greater Nevada Credit Union and Greater Nevada Mortgage provided the “Greater Perks” program to participants such as Nevada State Employees, Tesla Gigafactory, Renown Health and Carson Tahoe Health. The program includes financial wellness presentations such as homebuyer workshops and budgeting courses.
Growing Greater Nevada
We reached several new milestones in 2017 that helped contribute to the ongoing expansion of Greater Nevada’s products and services, as well as the communities and regions we serve.
In late 2017, GNCU announced the launch of a new wholly-owned commercial lending subsidiary, Greater Commercial Lending (GCL), an expansion of GNCU’s nationally recognized commercial services department. The new company was formed to provide expert lending services to businesses not only within Nevada, but across the United States in sectors such as renewable energy, community facilities, industrial, mining, and commercial and export lending. Greater Commercial Lending is the third wholly-owned subsidiary of GNCU, after Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM) and Greater Nevada Insurance (GNI), both of which saw more growth in 2017.
Greater Nevada Credit Union was again recognized as the USDA National Lender of the Year and received a 2017 Best Practices Award from the Credit Union Journal for its outstanding Commercial Services program.
Also in 2017, GNM obtained its license to provide home loans in California and prepared to open its new office in Las Vegas to assist borrowers in southern Nevada. GNI provided insurance coverage and extra savings to more members than ever.
Last fall, Frontier Financial Credit Union merged into Greater Nevada Credit Union, which welcomed 6,700 new members into the GNCU family. The merger also brought new team members and two additional branches to provide even greater service.
Awards and Recognitions
- The top employer, large business category, in the 2017 Best Places to Work in Northern Nevada program, presented by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association
- Best Financial Institution in the Nevada Appeal’s 2017 Best of Carson City
- Best Credit Union and Best Bank categories in the Reno News & Review’s Best of Northern Nevada 2017
- Silver award for the Best Bank/Credit Union in the inaugural Reno.com and Nevada Magazine Best of Reno Contest
- Best Bank/Credit Union in the Record-Courier’s Best of Carson Valley 2017 awards
- Greater Nevada Mortgage was awarded the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award (First Place Gold Award) by the Elko Daily Free Press.
- Best Lender, Commercial & Consumer - Bronze Award, Elko Daily Free Press 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards
- On GNCU’s 68th anniversary, Hillary Schieve, Mayor of the City of Reno, declared January 24, 2017, as Greater Nevada Credit Union Day.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) named Greater Nevada Credit Union its 2017 USDA
- National Lender of the Year. This was the second consecutive win for GNCU, which remains the only Nevada based institution and only credit union ever to receive this award.
- Greater Nevada Mortgage received second place for Best Mortgage Lender in the Record-Courier’s Best of Carson Valley 2017 awards
- GNCU received the First Place 2017 Dora Maxwell Award for Nevada Community Achievement, which honors credit unions for their community outreach efforts and is administered by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
Helping Our Members Live Greater
GNCU is involved in advocacy for credit union members at both the local and national level. GNCU representatives actively participate in the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues (NCUL) to ensure the protection of credit union members’ best interests. In November, Greater Nevada was recognized by the NCUL for outstanding advocacy efforts in 2017.
In addition, Greater Commercial Lending team members serve as advocates for small and rural businesses and work closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA).
As a supporter of ongoing education, GNCU has awarded nearly $330,000 in scholarships since 2000. In 2017, GNCU once again provided 20 deserving students with $2,000 each toward undergraduate, technical or trade school education goals.
Giving Back to Our Communities
GNCU provides every Greater Nevada employee with up to 24 hours of paid community service time annually. In 2017, team members volunteered 2,702 hours for a wide variety of organizations.
Greater Nevada employees help raise funds for the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack Marching Band each year. The fundraising partnership, which was established in 2012 and includes an annual match from GNCU, has helped the band grow from 120 to more than 200 members in 2017 and supply them with new uniforms, instruments and more. Partnerships have also been established for nine different local high school marching bands, where employees also help with ongoing fundraising activities.
Throughout the year, Greater Nevada employees assisted at a variety of elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges, teaching financial education and preparing students for the workforce. That included our ongoing banking class at Carson High School, where GNCU has a branch to serve students, faculty and staff. The year also welcomed a new partnership with Western Nevada College (WNC) to offer the “Greater Driving in Northern Nevada” program, in which students learn about responsible car ownership from GNCU volunteers.
In addition, employees collected toys, clothing and school supplies for local families in need, provided holiday meals to those who might otherwise go without, and helped raise $20,000 for Special Olympics Nevada athletes. In Ely, employees once again raised funds for the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life.
Greater Nevada’s community giving extended well beyond our local communities this year. Greater Nevada and its employees helped fellow credit union employees in Puerto Rico who were impacted by the devastating hurricanes through donating $75,000 to the National Credit Union Foundation relief effort.
The History of GNCU
1949 – 1950s
Nevada State Employees Federal Credit Union is chartered on January 24, 1949 and operated by employees of the Nevada Employment Security Department in their Carson City offices. By the end of the 1950s the credit union has 1,300 members.
First branch is built on Second Street in Carson City and a full-time staff is hired to serve the growing membership.
Ongoing membership growth leads to building a new headquarters on Second Street in Carson City. By the close of 1979 the credit union has nearly 9,000 members.
The name is changed to Nevada Community Federal Credit Union, membership includes employees of several hundred different companies, and new branches in Minden and Ely are established. Checking accounts and home loans are made available, and 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 in Reno and Wendover are added, along with an educational branch at Carson High School. A nationwide network of ATMs is added and a new GNCU headquarters office is established in Carson City. The decade closes with more than 40,000 members.
The new millennium sees branches opened in Spanish Springs, Dayton and north Carson City; business checking and lending services are introduced; GNCU forms its first subsidiary company, Greater Nevada Mortgage, and the credit union surpasses 50,000 members at the close of 2009.
2010 – Present
New branches are opened in northwest Reno, Golden Valley and Elko; GNCU partners with the University of Nevada, Reno to help raise funds annually for the Wolf Pack Marching Band; field of membership grows to include all counties in Nevada; 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; Frontier Financial Credit Union merges into GNCU; and 2017 closes with more than 64,000 members.