A message from Keith Sultemeier, President & CEO
JANUARY 2021 – Goodbye 2020, Welcome 2021
Happy New Year to you! I think there is always a sense of optimism as we kick off a new year, and we need that this year more so than most. In addition to the usual resolutions aiming to drop old habits or start new ones, we are eagerly awaiting an end to this pandemic and the return of normalcy. The New Year is a time of renewal, self-reflection, and fresh starts, but there is clearly a bit more struggle ahead.
I think we all hoped for a miracle when the clock rolled to 12:01am on January 1, 2021, but unfortunately, we find ourselves navigating through the pandemic at its worst levels thus far. For most of us, our 2020 holiday season was very different. We toned down our celebrations, stayed within our bubbles, stuck closer to home, and perhaps binge-watched yet another series, or maybe saw the movie Elf for the 20th time. We have made sacrifices to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. Sacrifices that were necessary, but were very hard, nonetheless.
As an essential business, Kinecta branches have remained open throughout with staff continuing to provide in-person banking services. Like most essential workers, our branch employees stayed on the job to meet the needs of our members despite the greater risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are truly thankful for their commitment.
Simply put, 2020 was a challenging year. As we begin 2021, your credit union remains steadfast in our commitment to serving you, our members, and your communities. I urge you to reach out to us for assistance with any financial hardships you may be experiencing. We want to help and will do our absolute best to see you through this tumultuous time.
Being there for our members and communities is one of the defining differences between member-owned, financial cooperatives like ours and for-profit banks. In 2020, Kinecta provided financial assistance to nearly 20,000 members and small businesses:
- 1,800 emergency relief loans, totaling $2.6 million
- 1,170 mortgage loan deferrals of $303 million
- 13,200 auto loan deferrals of $202 million
- 925 credit card deferrals of $4.6 million
- 500 personal and student loan deferrals of $2.1 million
- 1,277 loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for local small businesses totaling $67 million in support
Even with these member accommodations, Kinecta remains financially strong and has performed well throughout the pandemic. We build financial strength to position us to help members in times like this. Most of these programs are still operating and available to members in need. Rest assured that we are willing and able to support you should you need us.
Although severely hampered by the prohibition on public gatherings, Kinecta also continued its commitment to community service. Our employees volunteered over 3,700 hours helping more than 120 non-profit organizations. We contributed $40,000 to support the COVID-19 Relief Funds at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children’s Hospital Orange County and Cottage Children's Medical Center. We moved our free financial workshops and education programs online. The Kinecta BBQ rig and Ice Cream Truck deployed to serve exhausted first responders and their families. And, we closed 2020 by hosting drive-thru events for our 47th Annual Holiday Food Drive, as well as our annual Backpack Giveaway to support local under-served communities.
While uncertain times lie ahead, we have reason to be hopeful and optimistic about 2021. The nation’s scientists developed not one but two safe and effective vaccines faster than anyone believed possible. We have another round of federal economic relief coming soon. And, Kinecta is close to achieving its largest merger ever as we look forward to welcoming Xceed Financial Credit Union and its members to the Kinecta family.
No doubt 2021 will challenge us with yet more twists and turns, but your credit union is prepared and here to serve you. I wish you a year full of blessings, warm friendships, and good health.
President & CEO
Kinecta Federal Credit Union