1.2 Million Members Strong: Finance Co-Op Model Drives BECU
Credit union returns $312 million to its members and $5.7 million to its communities in 2018
BECU, Washington's largest credit union, increased its membership last year by 7.5% to 1,162,490 members and ended the year with $19.6 billion in assets, a 10.1% increase over 2017. As a financial cooperative owned by its members, BECU focuses on balancing its growth with the safety and soundness of the credit union, resulting in a net worth (capital) ratio of 11.27% in 2018.
“BECU has a history of steady growth, which has allowed us to invest even more into the financial health of our members and communities in tangible ways,” said Benson Porter, BECU president and CEO. “Our primary
focus is on the long-term strength of our membership. Ultimately, when our members are healthy, BECU is financially healthy, and together we can build a sustainable financial future that works for everyone in our communities.”
Return on Membership
In 2018, the credit union returned $312 million ($277 per member) to its members through better rates and fewer fees compared to bank averages. Examples include:
- More than $2.7 million to nearly 49,000 members through its loan Reprice program by automatically lowering the interest rate of qualifying loans due to positive financial behaviors.
- Assisting members with a portion of their down payment or closing costs through its new First-Time Homebuyer Grant program, providing a total of $772,241 in grants to help purchase 146 homes.
- Refunding members over $5.1 million in out-of-network ATM surcharges.
Extending Community Support
Through its philanthropic giving and support of credit union causes, BECU donated $5.7 million in cash and in-kind donations to 196 community partners, with a focus on increasing financial health. Key efforts include:
Funding Degree Completion: $470,000 to 18 Washington-based institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students at risk of not completing their degrees due to financial hardship. In addition, the BECU Foundation awarded $204,000 in scholarships to 80 student members through scholarships.
- Member-Inspired Giving: $515,000 granted to 18 local nonprofits, nominated and voted on by BECU members, through its annual People Helping People Awards.
- Employee-Inspired Giving: Matched over $331,000 in employee donations to qualifying nonprofits.
Commitment to Financial Education
Beyond the dollars, BECU reached more than 18,000 people last year through financial health programs. Examples include:
- Nearly 1,100 members received a Financial Health Check, a free one-on-one consultation with BECU financial experts dedicated to helping members make financial decisions and take action in real-time on saving, budgeting and reducing debt.
- BECU financial educators led webinars and seminars for over 2,159 members on various topics – from retirement and home buying to building credit and more.
- More than 1,900 BECU employees led financial reality fairs at 16 schools across Washington for over 8,000 students as part of its Annual Day of Service event.
Investments in Member Products and Services
- Opening four new Neighborhood Financial Centers in Washington to better serve members in Seattle, South Lake Union, Sammamish and Newcastle. BECU also opened a Home Loan Center in Spokane.
- Increasing accessibility to the BECU.org website and mobile app for blind and visually impaired members.
- Updating the Online Banking experience by adding new features like Pause Your Debit Card and Travel Plan Notification.
- Providing complimentary membership to the Passport program late last year, saving members $73,715 through exclusive discounts.
In 2018, BECU introduced new offerings designed to enhance the member experience, such as: