From the President

Jim Masini “If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.”Mahatma Gandhi

At North Side, we are always operating on the knife’s edge in order to pursue our mission of economic empowerment for our members.

The good news is that we’re still here, we’re pursuing new exciting opportunities in 2013, and our members and partners are counting on us as much as ever.
There were many positive moments for us. Here are the important highlights of our success last year:

  • We received financial support from The Private Bank, The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, The Illinois Credit Union Foundation, The Illinois Housing Development Authority, and the Office of the City Treasurer.  Thanks to all of them for their ongoing belief in our work.
  • We hosted nearly 70 people for our Financial Education Workshops throughout the year.
  • Our Manager, Jennifer Weitzel, spoke at a convening held by the Ford Foundation and at the Illinois Asset Building Group Annual Conference.
  • Our HUD-certified Housing Counseling Program, led by Jennifer Pallas, continued with a strong team and worked with 231 members and non-members, and ran eight 1st-Time Homebuyer’s Workshops for the community. We funded 41 applications for our “Hardest Hit Funds” program. We have experienced some turnover with our counselors, but we have recently received additional funding and the program is stronger than ever. We are one of only 15credit union HUD affiliates in the country.
  • Thanks to the strong efforts spearheaded by Sarah Marshall, our Marketing & Partnerships Manager, and our Marketing Committee, we grew again in membership last year, with an almost 3% increase.

This year we loaned our $42 millionth dollar since organization! As is always our experience, many of these were for our smaller emergency loans, like our Payday Alternative and Hot Funds, a fact attested to by an average loan size for the year of only $2,499 despite having a strategic emphasis for the year of building our Small Business and Mortgage portfolios. For Balance Sheet reasons, we returned non-member depository funds to some banks and larger institutions that had deposited monies with us when we needed liquidity. However, this enabled us increase our capital ratio to 7.9% by the end of the year. The problems of the economy at large increased our charge-offs to $156,857; meanwhile, we had recoveries of $49,920. Nevertheless, the evidence of the generally healthy state of our portfolio is the fact that our overall portfolio delinquency, in the midst of the economic meltdown, stood at a moderate level of only 4.74%.
I cannot leave a review of our year without once again paying tribute to the stability, consistency, and hard work of our staff, led by our Manager, Jennifer Weitzel. As I wrote to them with the Board’s holiday greeting: “We humbly thank you for turning our words into actions.” We all owe them a great debt of gratitude.

As we settle into 2013, some things will change and some things will not. On this journey we share towards an uncertain future, North Side will patiently and faithfully continue to assess all of our activities in terms of the how they will help build our community. We see ourselves as one of a number of development partners still looking for the real value behind the dollar signs. Communities are made up of people, and their ability to access the economy is our institutional job. However, our slogan is “People helping people” and credit union members know that, even as individuals, we are all called to put people before payments, cooperation before cash. Make this the year that you help to spread the word that there is a difference in financial institutions.