To promote the financial well-being of our diverse community by providing affordable services and expanding the availability of alternative financial resources.
North Side Community Federal Credit Union will develop the capacity, products and systems to meet the transaction and lending needs of members while increasing profitability by reducing losses and developing new sources of income.
Annual Report Letter
North Side Community Federal Credit Union is a special place. It is a financial institution that, thus far, has survived many financial challenges and during years that it should not have done so. Small credit unions across the country are being swallowed up by larger institutions, as the complexity of operations outpaces resources. Technology and increasing compliance regulations have quickened the pace of change, and small operations struggle to keep up. Somehow, North Side has managed to expand products and services, improve technology, and remain committed to our mission despite our small scale and size. What does and has always set us apart is our mission. We were founded to serve people most at risk of becoming victims of predatory financial practices, and provide access to affordable credit.
While many of our members do have many options, we hope they stay because they also believe the way we do – that together we can make a local economic impact. We don’t report to external stakeholders, and we are clear on what we are here to do. In 2016, we broke a new lending record, disbursing over $3 million dollars in loans to our community. We saw many members generously donate to our food pantry, because we know no one should have to close their savings account to buy food. Our employees continued their own growth and development, with two employees receiving CUNA (Credit Union National Association) certifications that further strengthen our ability to run a safe and sound financial institution. Our own employee and accountant, Lee Dewey developed and launched an innovative product, the GAP LP, targeted towards the trans and queer community. They recognized an unmet need for an inclusive, affordable financial services provider to this community and took advantage of their role to do something about it. The product received national industry attention, and became an example and model in raising awareness of the need to better serve the trans and queer markets. Impact and institutional asset size have no correlation, as North Side has demonstrated repeatedly. In 2016, I was appointed to serve on the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)’s Credit Union Advisory Committee, assisting this federal agency about how to think through regulation that protects consumers. North Side also helped over 300 individuals through personal credit counseling, homebuyer preparation or foreclosure programs. We weathered challenges with state budget cuts, and signed a contract to improve our data processing system with the goal of providing more efficient services to our members. In the middle of all this, we ended the year with a positive balance sheet.
We also know we have more to do, and that there are challenges ahead in 2017. Credit unions are cooperatives, and cooperatives are founded on the principles of democratic participation and concern for the community. Regardless of what happens in the macro-environment, our mission and founding principles will not change. We appreciate your support through deposits and loans, and your continued demonstration of your belief that a local financial institution serving the neighborhoods of Chicago is worth investing in.
Sarah Marshall, MBA, CCUE
Chief Executive Officer