Throughout 2021 VLFCU continued to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic which persisted to engulf the nation. Our corporate business plan and goals often took a back seat to day-to-day operational challenges, keeping our staff and membership healthy and safe and our branches open for business. Staffing issues remained front and center throughout the year as the credit union continued to experience levels of employee absenteeism and quarantine. Additionally, the pandemic created a new phenomenon across the country known as the “Great Resignation”, an economic trend in which employees voluntarily resigned from their positions in record numbers as the pandemic raged on. People in general took the opportunity to re-think their careers, working conditions and long-term career goals and became accustomed to working from home versus commuting to and from work. This trend affected VLFCU staffing throughout much of the year as well, as we experienced higher than normal job vacancies along with several retirements.
I am pleased to report that despite the pandemic-related challenges we faced in 2021, VLFCU’s year-end financial statements remained strong. Much like 2020, VLFCU experienced an accelerated increase in our deposit balances with minimal corresponding change in loan balances. Despite these balance sheet challenges, we ended with a strong 1.29% ROA and 10.43% capital ratio for the year. I am also happy to report that VLFCU was one of twenty-five CDFI accredited financial institutions in Ohio to receive a Rapid Response Program Grant (RRP) through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the Treasury Department. The grant, awarded in June 2021, allowed VLFCU to continue to assist distressed and underserved members through the current economic downturn.
Looking ahead to 2022, we will continue to work through any lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring appropriate staffing and maintaining a safe environment for members and employees to interact. We will also work on advancing the business plan on our field of membership expansion into Huron County by identifying a more permanent branch location to serve the entire community. Look for an announcement of a new location later in the year as plans are finalized. We will also continue our efforts regarding both our strategic short and long-term business objectives to ensure the credit union is positioned for growth and prosperity in the near as well as distant future.
In closing, I would like to recognize the outstanding leadership of our management team, the hard work and cooperative, can-do attitude of the staff as well as the steady support of the Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee, and Volunteers during this very challenging past year. I am grateful to work alongside such a dedicated group of people. Be assured, VLFCU is committed and proud to serve you, our ownership team. Our continued success is a direct result of your loyalty and trust in allowing us to provide for all your financial needs. Many thanks for your continued confidence in us, and we look forward to working with you throughout 2022.
Bryan P. Myers
Chief Executive Officer