Our recent technology upgrade – thank you for your patience!
In early October, Affinity Plus completed one of its most significant projects in 20 years. We upgraded many of the systems and technologies that are at the core of how we serve you every day.
This accomplishment took years of work and months of training and preparation by our employees. And we understand that this undertaking may have had an impact on our members, as well, including longer hold times or wait times at our branches. As we work to regain our speed and expertise with the new system, we sincerely thank you for hanging in there with us.
From an internal perspective, these upgrades and conversions have gone as smoothly as we could have hoped for. And we are confident that these changes have set the organization and the members up for success as we move this cooperative forward into the future.
Thank you for your patience during this time!
7-for-7: Affinity Plus completes major technology upgrades
Affinity Plus is headed into the New Year with a lot to be excited about. Over the past three years, your credit union has made major investments into its technology and systems to set the organization and our members up for success as we move this cooperative forward into the future.
In 2016, Affinity Plus embarked upon a journey to make critical technology improvements to the credit union. We set out to create a more effective, efficient credit union for our members – now and into the future. Over the course of three years, Affinity Plus upgraded seven technology systems, culminating on 10/1/18 with the completion of one of the most significant organizational projects in 20 years.
The infographic below illustrates the journey from evaluation to selection to implementation.
Download the technology upgrade infographic
Affinity Plus supports community partners across Minnesota in sixth-annual Plus It Forward Day
This fall, Affinity Plus held its annual day of generosity and kindness in October, this time focused on community contributions. On Plus It Forward Day each October, the credit union’s 500-plus employees have spent a full day volunteering, serving and scattering kindness in Affinity Plus communities across Minnesota.
This year, in light of the technology upgrade and related projects, we took a slightly different approach, allocating $50,000 local charities, organizations and community partners to help them further their goals.
“We established this day in 2013 for the sole purpose of doing good and improving lives and communities on a local level,” said Dave Larson, Affinity Plus President/CEO. “Plus It Forward is a favorite day of the year for so many of our employees – it truly has become engrained into who we are as an organization.”
Still, for much of 2018, Affinity Plus employees were focused on implementing major system and technology improvements across the organization. However, Affinity Plus leaders and employees didn’t want to lose the momentum and impact of the annual Plus It Forward Day. That’s where the financial contributions came into play, as a committee of employees from across Minnesota determined how best to invest this financial support.
“We have such a powerful impact on our communities by staying local, and our employees and leaders understand the unique needs of each community, Larson said. “And, without question, we will leverage the collective power of our employees again in future years as we continue the Plus It Forward Day tradition.”
Convenience & technology at the forefront of new branches in Grand Rapids & Duluth
Over the course of 2018, Affinity Plus has been working to open two new branches in existing Affinity Plus communities: Grand Rapids and Duluth. Both branch projects were new builds and include expanded technology, digital marketing, drive-thru lanes and ATMs.
The Grand Rapids branch, located at 2120 SE 2nd Avenue, opened Nov. 19. Affinity Plus has served the Grand Rapids community since 1993 and currently employs nearly 50 people in two branches and a call center. More than 10,000 members are served in Grand Rapids and its surrounding communities, and this new location will help to continue to grow deeper roots in this region.
Construction in Duluth is nearing completion, with the new branch slated to open in early 2019. The new Duluth branch will be located along Highway 53 at 1820 Maple Grove Road, less than one mile from Affinity Plus’ current location. It will be across the street from Target and Best Buy, and just a half-mile from the Miller Hill Mall.
We are excited to introduce these new facilities to new and existing members, which work alongside our mobile and online banking offerings to serve members. Last spring, Affinity Plus debuted a new digital experience that has been rated highly by members.
Member Story: Abby shares her secret to savings success!
“Savings is an imperative – an absolute must,” Affinity Plus member Abby.
She learned from her parents at an early age the importance of saving. She said she tries to have three months’ worth of expenses saved up, but – like so many others – she acknowledges, “It’s hard!”
So when she read in an Affinity Plus newsletter about some of the savings options offered at the credit union, she was intrigued. Abby, a 21-year member from Moorhead, went in and talked to the Member Advisors to learn more.
Understanding the many barriers that exist when it comes to developing positive savings habits, Affinity Plus designed two programs – Stash Your Cash and WINcentive® Savings – that make savings easy and automatic.
“When I heard about them, I wanted to give it a try,” Abby said. “And the incentive helps.”
- Stash Your Cash offers a simple method for saving that is available to any member with a checking account. Every time a member makes a purchase using their Affinity Plus debit card, the amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the excess change is transferred to the savings account of their choice. Abby said she likes the mechanism behind Stash Your Cash – “It’s the same concept as putting your change in a jar at the end of the day,” she said. Abby chooses to use her stashed cash as spending money for travel.
- WINcentive® Savings is a program that provides participants with a chance to win money by practicing regular savings habits (also referred to as prize-linked savings). Members earn an entry into a cash prize drawing for every $25 saved. “The more times you deposit, the greater your chances of winning in the drawing,” Abby said.
Since enrolling in the Stash Your Cash and WINcentive® Savings programs a few years ago, Abby has already saved close to $3,000 – and she has won $600 in WINcentive® Savings prize drawings, too! In total, 325 Affinity Plus members received $59,400 in prize money through WINcentive® Savings in 2018 alone.
With the automatic transfers available through both of these programs, Abby is proof that saving can be an easy habit to build in 2019. “I don’t have to think about it – I don’t even pay attention,” Abby said. “A small amount every few weeks really adds up.”
CONGRATULATIONS, ABBY, ON YOUR SAVINGS SUCCESS!
Affinity Plus Foundation offers money for college students
College students have more to worry about than finances. That’s where Affinity Plus can help! Apply before Jan. 31, 2019, for a $5,000 scholarship from the Affinity Plus Foundation!
The Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Program offers eight $5,000 awards that recognize Affinity Plus members for their leadership, character, community-building and pursuit of education. Incoming freshman, current students, graduate students and nontraditional students are all welcome to apply.
Applications must be received by Jan. 31, 2019, and awards will be announced in the spring.
Additionally, Affinity Plus offers a variety of financing options for students, including student loans and a technology loan. Receive more information or apply online today!
You’re already a member…. Why not work for Affinity Plus, too? We’re always on the lookout for great people our team! Join Affinity Plus, ranked as the #1 credit union in Minnesota by Forbes and named a 2018 Star Tribune Top Workplace. Visit our Careers page to learn more.