Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Tysons, Va., enjoyed the “most successful year in the credit union’s history” in 2017, with record membership, assets and earnings.

That was the message from James Schenck, president and CEO of the $23.3 billion credit union. Schenck, along with Ed Cody, chairman of the PenFed board, spoke to the membership during the CU’s 83rd annual meeting last week.

In his business update, Schenck reported PenFed increased its net new membership by 10 percent, ending the year with 1.63 million members. Total assets grew by $1.6 billion from $21.3 billion in 2016 to $22.9 billion in 2017. Net income was a record $179 million in 2017, up from $169 million in 2016. PenFed is “well capitalized” at10.3 percent, which Schenck noted “far exceeds” industry standards of 7 percent for a well-capitalized institution.

To best serve a fast-growing membership, Schenck said PenFed expanded its workforce by more than 11 percent in 2017, ending the year with 2,399 employees.

“Every day, our 1.6 million members vote with their wallets. Our members vote for PenFed over 11,000 other financial institutions in America,” Schenck said. “I attribute this to the extraordinary talent and commitment of our employees and the market-leading products and services they deliver 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to our members.”

PenFed CEO James Schenck speaks during the credit union's 2018 annual meeting.
PenFed CEO James Schenck speaks during the credit union's 2018 annual meeting.

PenFed was ranked among the country’s top-rated firms for service excellence by its members, the management team noted.

Schenck highlighted PenFed’s commitment to communities, saying PenFed donates at least 2 percent of earnings to charitable organizations. PenFed’s charitable donations topped $5 million in 2017, he said.

Five 9s of availability

“This year, we celebrate our 83rd anniversary and another successful year,” Cody said. “Our team has stayed focused on operating safely and soundly, improving our business processes and systems, and ensuring that we help our members do better financially. Investments in our call centers, technology and people culminated in our members ranking PenFed among the country’s top firms for service excellence.”

The opening of PenFed’s Availability Command Center in Chantilly, Va., was among one of the key 2017 accomplishments Cody highlighted.

“Our ‘Always On’ information technology systems position PenFed to deliver service availability to our members 99.999% of the time,” Cody said. “In the financial services industry, ‘Five 9s’ of availability is the standard of excellence.”

Cody provided an update on the PenFed Foundation and its commitment to give back to the defenders of the United States through its key programs:

  • The Military Heroes Fund, which provided 557 grants in 2017 valued at $686,921, in emergency financial assistance to wounded warriors and their families;
  • The Dream Makers program, which provided 125 grants totaling $598,476 to help first-time homebuyers make down payments on their homes. The CU said these grants ensured approximately $20 million in mortgages became a reality;
  • The Asset Recovery Kit program provided 1,890 interest-free loans totaling $886,300 to military service members as a safe alternative to payday lenders.

Cody also noted the Foundation’s partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to end veteran homelessness. Through the end of 2017, the Foundation made 552 grants for rent and utility payments, transportation vouchers and critical household items valued in excess of $583,982. The Foundation also partnered with the VA to provide relief for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria via 554 grants totaling $166,000.

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