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At annual meeting in Antigo, CoVantage details growth plans
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Changing demographics—including an aging and declining population in some of the markets it services—will require the Antigo-based CoVantage Credit Union to reconsider how and where it serves members in the future.

That was the message President Brian Prunty brought to the 61st annual meeting Wednesday, an event that drew an exceptional crowd to Antigo High School’s Volm Theater.

From its start in Antigo in 1952, CoVantage has grown to cover a wide swath of northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And now, Prunty said, it is expanding into the Stevens Point market as well with a new office scheduled to open in fall.

“It is a young and growing community,” Prunty said, and that is key to generating loans and maintaining and improving an already-healthy bottom line.

Prunty said the move into the Stevens Point market is a matter of simple demographics.

“Frankly, we are losing population and getting old,” he said, pointing to a slide that showed that five of the six counties where CoVantage has an office presence now have populations with an average age of over 45. “The concern is, as people age, they borrow less.”

Declining population in some areas is also a concern the president said, with five of the counties experiencing population declines.

“So not only are our members leaving the borrowing age, we have fewer people to whom we can borrow to,” he said.

Prunty stressed that while no offices are closing, proper planning, including the new Stevens Point office, is a way to address that concern.

“Again, we are grateful for every member wherever they live, and we are committed to keeping our presence in all the communities we presently serve,” he said.

Prunty reported a successful 2013 for CoVantage because of its focus on members and efforts to keep the credit union strong.

“They are the reasons why we have been able to grow to nearly $1.1 billion in assets, making us one of the largest credit unions in the region and in the top 3 percent of all credit unions in the country,” he said.

Prunty reflected on the ways CoVantage has rewarded members, including its $1.6 million patronage payment for 2013.

“By focusing on the member and striving to provide you outstanding value and exceptional service, we have become vital to you, and this is the reason for our success,” he said.

“We have been incredibly blessed,” he stressed. “We have worked hard to build upon the early successes of previous generations and I believe we are positioned to provide even greater member benefits in the years ahead, provided we never lose sight of our purpose, to provide outstanding value and exceptional service while keeping the credit union strong.”

In her treasurer’s report, Karen Novak reviewed the credit union’s financial performance for 2013. Highlights include:

—growth in total assets of $45 million, reaching $1.091 billion.

—increase in loans outstanding by $45 million, now standing at $792 million.

—and an increase in member deposits of $35 million, bringing total deposits to $972 million.

—a 2013 net income of $10.461 million, an increase of 10.1 percent.

During the business portion of the meeting, members elected Matt Kolling of Stevens Point to the board of directors and re-elected incumbents Bob McIntosh of Lakewood and Paul Payant of Antigo.

Dave Visser, a board member since 2008, declined to seek re-election and was presented with a plaque for his years of service.


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Charles Dallas, left, chairman of the board at CoVantage Credit Union, and Dave Visser, who retired from a position on the Board.
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ANTIGO DAILY
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