Message from the President & Chief Executive Officer
Market expansion is a long-term strategic goal of the credit union. With that said, at our 2014 fall strategic planning retreat, the Board of Directors unanimously approved plans to move forward with requesting a charter expansion into Clinton County, NY, from the National Credit Union Administration. NCUA, our federal regulator, had to give us approval to expand our existing charter. Late last year, we submitted an application, business and marketing plan with a three year financial forecast to the Office of Consumer Protection and Access. We are happy to report that earlier this year, NCUA approved us to move forward with our plans adopting a new field of membership which encompass all of Franklin, St. Lawrence and Clinton Counties.
Why is it necessary to expand our market?
In order to continue to be successful, it is necessary for SeaComm to garner additional members. Today, SeaComm has nearly a 29% market share penetration in its current field of membership. New opportunity in a region that has been economically flat will, over time, make growth a challenge.
Based off of census trends, St. Lawrence County, which is the largest county in our field of membership, is on track to lose 15,839 people over the next 20 years, or a decline of 15% by 2035. It is critical to our long-term viability that we continue to plan to grow our membership, especially of those who have borrowing needs. The more people we lose, the more important it becomes to pick up new markets which offer additional opportunity.
Our strategy is to continue to diversify the markets in which we do business. This diversification will enable SeaComm to withstand certain economic anomalies which have, or could be market specific.
Why Clinton County and in particular Plattsburgh?
Plattsburgh, NY, with a population of 82,128 is the seat of Clinton County and ranked the fourth-best micropolitan city for economic development in North and South America. It is very similar in the demographic makeup of our current markets and we believe SeaComm can be very successful in Clinton County. It has been poised for economic growth and ultimate opportunity. Specifically:
It has rail, highway and port access which has led to steady growth in small to medium size industry.
|| Quick access to Interstate 87 – directly connecting the county to New York City, Montreal and Boston
||Located on the main rail line for Canadian Pacific – connects New York City to Montreal
||Three large, deep water ports – access to some of the largest metropolitan areas in North America
||Access to some of the lowest utility rates in the US
||Access to foreign trade zones
||Home to globally recognizable companies – Laurentian, Fujistu, Bombardier and Nova Bus (Volvo)
||Revitalized air base: Laurentian Aerospace is currently working to complete financing for its planned $200 million maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) 273,000 square-foot facility for large-body jets at the Plattsburgh International Airport. This is anticipated to create more than 1,000 jobs in this region once it is in full operation.
||The North Country Regional Economic Development Council of New York points outs in its strategy report that Clinton County, in particular Bombardier’s Main Plant and Test Track $26.6 million expansion, will create an additional 150 jobs. In addition the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will purchase 300 new rail cars to be built in Plattsburgh, NY. The $600 million order will assist in job retention and an additional 200 jobs for area suppliers.
||University of Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital employees 2,300.
||SUNY Plattsburgh has an economic impact of more than $203 million. Additional higher education institutions include Clinton Community College.
When will it happen?
For the past several months we have been searching for the optimal location. In August the Board of Directors approved the purchase of a property site. We are targeted to build a new, fully-serviced retail branch, in tandem with the construction of the Malone branch which was announced mid-last year. We are expected to be fully operational by the end of August 2016.
The credit union is positioned for growth. Our retained earnings have continued to keep pace with our asset growth and have an excellent capital position. This expansion will enable our credit union to grow and be financially sustainable into the future.
As we did with the expansion of our new headquarters, I will keep you well informed of the progress of not only Plattsburgh, but our new branch construction in Malone. There will be on-going communication about these projects in our Advisor, website, Twitter and Facebook. In fact, there will be a designated section giving you up-to-date information. I will also be ensuring quality communication, through on-going branch visits and with my messages to the membership in our newsletter the Advisor.
P.W. Campbell, Pittsburgh, PA, who did our headquarters expansion in Massena will be the Design-Build Firm for both the Plattsburgh and Malone projects. Local contractors will be extensively utilized for both projects.
Recruitment for staffing our new location will begin early next year.
We will continue to be focused on our exceptional service model, providing up-to-date delivery channels and key products and services not only in our new location, but in all of the retail markets which we currently serve.
Scott A. Wilson
President & Chief Executive Officer
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