Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for Kindred’s 57th Annual General Meeting on April 13. We’re pleased to let you know that our virtual meeting gathered more than 260 members and special guests to hear the latest Kindred news and our 2020 financial update! Members voted on a number of resolutions, including an update to our General By-law, and two new Directors were ratified for our 2021 Board of Directors.
As we formally say good-bye to 2020, we invite you to read a special message from our CEO, Ian Thomas.
Excerpted from our 2020 Annual Report.
Along with the economic challenges, loneliness, and loss wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 offered genuine experiences of light and hope. The lessons we learned over the past year, as well as the inspiration offered by our members and communities, will never be forgotten. I can say with confidence that Kindred was able to live out its values and purpose throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to demonstrate in meaningful and tangible ways that we were there for our members in 2020 and, as the pandemic continues, I want to reassure you that we’re still here, working for you.
We’re committed to making more tools available to enrich our members’ banking experience, and we recognize that providing a variety of ways to bank is now a necessity rather than simply a convenience. In fact, the pandemic put our plans to offer increased digital access into overdrive. From digital membership opening and e-signature to video meetings, extended hours at our Member Contact Centre, and contactless banking solutions, we’ve made it easier for people across Ontario to experience Banking with Purpose whenever and wherever they’re at. I’m so proud of my team for delivering when our members and community needed it most.
As the CEO of a financial institution, I love numbers … and the numbers in 2020 tell us that our plans are working! We added 1,949 new members in 2020, bringing our total membership to just shy of 25,000. We expect to see this growth trend continue with digital membership opening and our enhanced mobile app already available, to be followed by digital lending and other services throughout 2021.
We continue to make progress towards the financial objectives in our 2021 strategic plan. At the end of 2020, Kindred’s net assets grew to nearly $1.6 billion. In addition, our core earnings reached a record $5.5 million as of December 31, 2020. We’re very grateful that the credit union was able to maintain its strong financial performance in such challenging and uncertain circumstances. These results underscore our financial stability and allow Kindred to continue to support our members and further our purpose.
With a keen eye on the foundational areas of our business, and thanks to our members’ trust in us, we recorded record-breaking results in 2020 with solid loan growth of $137.4 million and strong deposit growth of $213.7 million. This was achieved, in part, thanks to Kindred staff members proactively connecting with more than 10,000 members to discuss their financial needs! Our Financial Planning team was able to use their extensive investing experience to help our members plan for their future, even as they had to pivot to take their advisory services (mostly) online. As a result, we grew our total Assets Under Management* to more than $242 million at year end, an 18.3% increase over 2019.
When the credit union succeeds, our members and the communities in which we live and work also benefit. Our Profit Shares program allowed us to share $1.1 million from our 2020 earnings with our personal and business members.
Ensuring a safe and healthy local food supply proved to be critical during the pandemic, and so we were pleased to further develop our deep-rooted relationships with the agricultural community over the past year. Our strength in commercial and small business lending also paid dividends, as we moved quickly to connect with our members to offer advice, planning, and loans where needed, while building our capacity to help hundreds of business members access federal COVID-19 relief programs.
In addition to being a record year for growth, it was also a record year to demonstrate our values. Building relationships with community partners is an ongoing focus for Kindred, and I’m pleased to say we made strides in our connections with a host of organizations that support our chosen focus areas. Our Community Inspiration Framework is a guide to how we bring our purpose to life in the communities we serve. I invite you to take a look at our blog article, “Introducing the Community Inspiration Framework” to watch an illustrated video that celebrates and shares the spirit and rationale behind our framework and helps explain what we mean by “inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities.”
Our support to communities in 2020 came through our people, programs, products and services, as well as philanthropy. Kindred gave $622,000 to strengthen local communities through branch sponsorships, donations to churches and charities through our Church Builder GIC, and a variety of partnerships that further our purpose. Through the Kindred Charitable Fund, $81,000 in grants was distributed to charities, supporting 16 organizations in our operating area.
Early in the pandemic, Kindred donated $15,000 to local organizations serving those who are most vulnerable to the economic effects of the pandemic. This was made possible thanks to our members who chose to connect their values and faith with their finances by investing in Kindred’s Crisis Care GIC. Sales of this unique investment surpassed $2 million!
Finally, celebrating a local leader in affordable housing, we committed to contributing $250,000 to MennoHomes’ capital campaign. Kindred has a longstanding relationship with MennoHomes and we were excited to deepen this relationship with a valued community partner. Our new partnership commitment extends beyond financial contributions, including financial literacy programming and a plan to explore other innovative ways to inspire peaceful, just, and prosperous communities.
Living out our values means we continue to advocate for fair compensation as a Living Wage Champion, to promote socially responsible investing, and to be an active member in the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an international organization that seeks to redefine banking. Please see page 10 of the annual report to learn more about GABV and how we’re measuring and presenting our impact to the ‘real economy’. With another successful year behind us, as a dedicated B Corp, Kindred is building a stronger credit union that shows how business can be a force for good.
Just as 2020 offered some unexpected lessons in resilience and managing expectations, 2021 will continue to offer challenges that we must overcome. Yet, with hope on the horizon, we’re looking forward to another successful year that will enable your credit union to help members secure their financial future and further our purpose to connect values and faith with finances, inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities.
Thank you to all our staff and members who continue to put their trust in this amazing organization.
Ian Thomas, Chief Executive Officer
*Assets Under Management refers to a combination of Kindred assets and member investments with Aviso Wealth.