A Message from FORUM's CEO - June 12, 2009
A Letter to our Members
About twelve months ago I wrote to you regarding the tumultuous times that in retrospect was just the beginning not the climax of the troubled economic crisis we as a nation are facing. In that letter I expressed to you the growing concern for our members who were struggling in these financial times and the impact those struggles would have on FORUM, your credit union. This past March I updated you again on the continued economic situation, FORUM’s current condition and the impact the Corporate Credit Union network bailout would have upon FORUM.
I am writing to you today to provide an update to our current financial status and to address changes and decisions we are making in the coming months that perhaps could have some impact upon you. First, FORUM continues to be very well capitalized with a ratio that is well above what is required by our regulators. Having said that, given the current economic conditions, the corporate stabilization expenses we will incur and higher than normal loan provision expenses, we feel compelled to implement our expense reduction contingency plans. Our priority is to maintain our financial stability and trust that our members have placed in us. We feel our actions are prudent given the current circumstances.
These expense reduction plans are primarily focused on employee related expenses and benefits. Only a couple of these items are truly impacting the membership in any manner. We will be reducing the Wayne branch to an ATM only branch at this time. The low number of transactions and its close proximity to other branch options including shared branch outlet locations and our Avon branch are the primary reasons this action is being taken. The other member facing initiative is the changing of hours in our remaining branch locations. Traffic patterns and our membership’s reliance on electronic delivery methods are the primary reasons we are enacting new lobby and drive-up hours. Our branch staff has always been and will continue to be available by appointment for times that are outside our normal hours.
Our call center and online chat services will not have any changes. Our call center representatives are available 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday – Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to Noon. Our online secure chat service is available 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday – Friday and 9:00 am to Noon on Saturday. We continue to be a part of the shared branching network that provides transaction access to your account at over 200 Indiana locations and over 4,000 locations nationwide.
We are continuing our emphasis on helping our credit union members who are struggling financially. Our “We Can Help” program is being utilized by hundreds of members -giving them a hand up instead of a handout. Our mission of providing loans to members and offering a competitive return on deposits has not wavered. The credit union staff is more engaged than ever in furthering the cooperative spirit of our organization. Your continued support of the credit union is critical to our continued success. We have a nearly seventy year history of responding to and overcoming challenging times and conditions. This situation will be no different. Yes it will be difficult and yet when we emerge from these times your credit union will only be stronger and more relevant than ever before.
We will continue to operate in a manner to provide you the utmost in service and deliver the products required to meet your financial needs. We are still in the business of lending money for cars, homes and home improvement projects. We will continue to provide unique and attractive alternatives for your deposit and checking account needs. Further, we will press forward with our initiatives to meet the needs of our members requiring small business services.
Above all though, we will fulfill our duty to maintain the financial stability of the credit union regardless of the economic realities we face without sacrificing our core mission of helping our members through the troubled financial times they are experiencing. The board, management and staff of your credit union are completely committed to making your financial experience with FORUM the very best it can be.