2006-05-19 / Business

Sense of pride at GFA's 67th annual meeting

SUBMITTED TO THE CHAMPION

Omer J. Cormier Omer J. Cormier GFA Federal Credit Union held its 67th Annual Meeting Wednesday, April 26 at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner.

This meeting is held annually for the benefit of GFA's members, to keep them connected to what their membership means to themselves and the community.

This year, the credit union did an exceptional job ensuring the membership not only of the utmost current practices, products and services offered, and community connections but also the well-laid plans for the short and long term.

The college's own president, Daniel Asquino presented a report on behalf of the GFA Supervisory Committee, of which he is a member. The supervisory committee is an integral part of the GFA team and the representative of the membership. "We are responsible for reviewing and evaluating the internal controls and operating policies to ensure assets are adequately protected," stated Dr. Asquino. He then introduced the other committee members: James Garrison, Chairman; Andrew Boucher; Gerry Bankowski, CPA; Attorney Brian Knuuttila.

It is the committee's opinion that the financial statements are in order, the credit union has strong internal controls, and GFA is in compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations.

"We are pleased to inform you that your credit union remains a strong, stable, financially secure financial institution, and you can take comfort in knowing that the GFA team takes seriously

their fiduciary responsibility in safeguarding your assets as well as your personal, confidential information that you entrust them with," Asquino concluded

Charles P. Bowles, chief executive officer addressed the membership and spoke of the direction of GFA and the positive impact it is intended to have on the membership as well as the community. He addressed the membership with heartfelt sentiments, discussing the enjoyment he has derived serving as the credit union's CEO the past 20 years and looked to the future, ensuring continued success.

Over the past decade, GFA assets have grown from $122 million to $210 million (a 72 percent increase). And capital has risen from $14.4 million to $33 million making GFA one of the most secure, fiscally strong, well capitalized organizations in the country, let alone the area. Member deposits have grown from $106 million to $176 million, and loans have increased from $64 million to $106 million. Membership is over 20,000 strong and it recently opened their sixth branch location in Rindge, New Hampshire - the first outside the state of Massachusetts.

He noted that once again GFA experienced a productive year; reshaping the organization to ensure continued success and longevity. During 2005, GFA progressed along its continuous journey to provide its members with the most up-todate and needed products and services. GFA focused on ways to assist its members' needs during rising interest rates. GFA was the first in the area to introduce many products and services to their membership; to assist both personal accounts as well as its business members during these challenging economic times.

The meeting highlighted GFA's Student Services program and the positive impact it has had on the area's youth. Diana Taheri who heads up the program, also acknowledged and complimented other local organizations involved with creative student involvement, including: 99.9 FM The Eagle radio station's "Radio Camp", the "Gardner News" many columns and features dedicated to youth as well as their participation and organization of "Newspapers in Education", the Massachusetts Credit Union League's annual essay contest, and the Credit Union National Association's National Credit Union Youth Week. Several local youths were recognized for their achievements and involvement.

GFA's members re-elected three directors to the board during the meeting. They are Michael Horrigan, Omer Cormier, and Henry Robichaud. Threeyear terms will be served by each. Other Board members include: David Jacques Chairman, Charles Bowles, Douglas Delay, Allen Goguen, Charles Langlois and Roger Tousignant.

Omer Cormier was feted for observing his 40th anniversary as a member of the credit union's board of directors. As well, James Garrison was recognized for having served his tenth year on the credit union's supervisory committee. It should be noted that all members of the board and supervisory committee serve voluntarily, devoting many hours each month to ensuring the credit union's safe and sound operation.

Cormier was recognized for 40 years of dedicated volunteered service to the credit union.

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