DUNEDIN, Fla. – Achieva Credit Union successfully navigated a challenging year in 2020, turning changes in the business environment into opportunities that led to positive growth. The credit union, which covers the west Florida coast from Pasco County south to Lee County, crossed $2 billion in assets in 2020, finishing the year at more than $2.1 billion, an 18.8% increase over 2019’s asset total of $1.8 billion.
Expanding its footprint in 2020, Achieva opened an innovative new branch location with a net-zero solar design in Trinity to serve members in the rapidly growing west Pasco County community.
“In the face of unforeseen conditions, Achieva kept a clear view on our members’ needs,” said Jennifer Galley, Achieva’s Chief Operations Officer. “We faced urgent needs from all over our communities, whether it was businesses seeking help, teachers needing loans between paychecks, or community nonprofits struggling to keep their programs going. Following the Achieva culture of community, we rose to meet those needs.
Achieva’s Business Services department had its most active year ever, due in part to processing a total of 989 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for area businesses. The $39 million in PPP loans contributed to a 38% growth in business loans, which ended the year at more than $159 million.
The credit union had a record 74% increase in business customers in 2020, as a number of businesses that had been turned away by larger banks for PPP loans turned to Achieva. In turn, some business owners, like Mike Dodaro, owner of Mike’s Pizza in Clearwater, and Peter Kreuziger, owner of Bon Appetit Group and a number of other businesses in Dunedin, then moved their entire banking relationships to Achieva.
In other indications of the successful year, Achieva earned a number of accolades, including:
Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces – This was the eighth consecutive year Achieva made the list, determined by a third-party survey of employees on workplace culture.
5-Star Rating by BauerFinancial Inc. – The 5-star “superior” score, an industry rating based on the assessment of an organization’s overall financial health, was awarded to Achieva for the 10th consecutive year.
Credit Union National Association’s Dora Maxwell Award – This award is given to credit unions for outstanding social responsibility projects in their communities.
Community support remained a strong focus for Achieva as the credit union donated a total of $141,259 over the course of the year. With nonprofits losing major event sponsorships and dealing with limitations on in-person fundraising, the credit union stepped up to help in creative ways.
As one example, Achieva quickly created a special loan program for Pinellas County school district employees last summer to help get them through a pandemic-related furlough. Also, Achieva matched member donations for local food banks dollar-for-dollar over a 30-day period at the start of the pandemic, contributing a total of $275,000 to food banks throughout its geographic footprint
Although the pandemic put a halt to Achieva’s four signature community fundraising events, the credit union maintained its commitment to providing classroom grants through local education foundations, contributing a total of $60,000 to education initiatives in Pinellas, Sarasota and Lee counties.
“We’re always looking at ways to better reach and connect with our members,” Galley said. “Branches are important, but we also want to continually enhance services delivered online or by phone. We’re also continuing efforts to engage the Hispanic community with more resources for Spanish speakers. Overall, we see great opportunity in 2021.”
Achieva Credit Union was founded in 1937 in Pinellas County. Today, it is rated a Superior 5-Star credit union by Bauer Financial and has more than $2 billion in assets and 22 branches serving more than 165,000 members. Anyone who lives or works in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties, or whose family member has an Achieva Credit Union account can bank with Achieva. For more information, visit www.achievacu.com.