Community First announces record $22 million in local business loans in 2016 annual report

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Community First Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in Florida, released its 2016 annual financial report at its 83rd annual meeting held Thursday at the credit union’s headquarters. The annual report shows strong loan growth for the fourth year in a row and a record $22 million in new local business loans to area organizations and entrepreneurs. Community First saw a 7 percent increase in membership last year, and the bank credits their success to plans put in place years ago.

The credit union’s loan portfolio grew to $954 million, up a record 16 percent from $820 million last year. Consumer loans, which include car loans and mortgages, grew from $385 million at the end of 2015 to $474 million in 2016, a 23 percent increase. The total business loan portfolio is now a historical institutional high of $60 million. Total assets were reported at more than $1.4 billion, an increase of 6 percent over 2015.

The credit union also announced that it funded its largest small business loan in its history – a $3.6 million expansion loan for a physician practice on Jacksonville’s Northwest side. Total loans to small businesses increased 78 percent over 2015.

Membership at Community First grew to more than 119,000 members in 2016 and earnings were reported at $15.8 million. A key measure of member engagement is the number of members who actively bank with the credit union. In 2016 active checking account balances grew from $225 million to $247 million, a 10 percent increase.

The credit union also updated members on its Branch Transformation initiative that began with the opening of the Riverside Branch in early 2016. Riverside featured all of the design elements, technology solutions and other enhancements that will carry forward to all branches of the future.

Leaders of the credit union also gave an update on the institution’s moveUp financial wellness program launched in 2016. The initiative is the first of its kind in Jacksonville to engage members with technology solutions and specialty education to take control of their finances and improve their knowledge while working to improve credit scores and overall financial wellness.

More than 4,000 members have enrolled in the program since launch.

Even with the success that Community First had this past year, the bank is still working on initiatives to continue their positive momentum. Roger Rassman, Vice President of Marketing at Community First says, Jacksonville residents can expect to see new TV commercials, a redesigned website, and new online and mobile banking platforms this year.

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