From our beginnings in 1938 we can trace 80 years of economic and social benefits generated by our cooperative principles and our unmatched record of commitment to the financial well-being of members.
One of the most tangible contributions has been profit sharing. In 2018 Servus paid member-owners a record $54.1 million. This year we made changes to how we calculate Profit Share, which meant more profits directed to members. Since 2009, we have paid more than $473 million to Albertans.
In 2018 we expanded and improved our service channels with new branches, more online and mobile banking features, and expansion of our contact centre services to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. New branches in Calgary Bridlewood and Medicine Hat Strachan Road will open in 2019.
With an eye to the future, Servus established a partnership with the University of Alberta to fund research projects in artificial intelligence and related areas. We aim to gain knowledge that can be applied to real-world financial challenges and professional development for Servus employees.
Key to member financial fitness are our almost 2000 employees and the excellent services they provide. Our employee engagement score at Servus continues to be very high, as is the employee ranking of leadership. Forbes recognized Servus as one of Canada's Best Employers in 2018, and one of the top three financial institutions in Canada.
In 2018 we faced a number of changes in our executive due to retirements and individual career choices. I was proud to promote into the executive four experienced, skilled internal candidates who have shown their commitment to Servus and our cooperative values.
Members rewarded our efforts to build their financial fitness with their trust and their business.
- Assets grew 4.9% to $16.2 billion and our capital is well over the legislated requirement.
- Members took our messages about saving to heart, growing deposits by 2.2%.
- Our loan book grew 4.5%.
- Net income (after dividends, patronage and taxes) increased by $3.9 million or 4.7% to $86.4 million.
I want to thank all members for the strong financial results that we've been able to achieve because of your continued support for Servus. Your support not only builds a stronger credit union that benefits members directly through financial services and profit sharing, but also contributes to a better world in many other ways.
Servus Credit Union contributed $3.5 billion to Alberta's economy in 2018. At local levels across Alberta we invested $2.5 million in 981 community organizations. We also contributed to the cooperative movement nationally and internationally.
We were honoured when members of Inglewood Savings and Credit Union and Canada Safeway Employees (Calgary) Savings and Credit Union chose Servus as an amalgamation partner in 2018. More recently, the members of Edson Savings and Credit Union also voted to amalgamate with Servus.
Another form of recognition came when the Centre for Financial Services Innovation recognized Servus as one of its 2018 Financial Health Leaders, the only Canadian institution named.
The strongest endorsement comes from our members. Our member satisfaction scores continue to be the highest in Alberta and member loyalty scores are also industry leading. We are honoured to have earned these from you and will aim to keep earning your approval.
I look to the year ahead with optimism and some caution. The economy is full of uncertainty and very volatile. Careful cost management has and will continue to be a priority. We're examining how and where we deliver services to make sure we are meeting member expectations while managing costs and aligning services with member behaviour. We are planning greater investment in our technology infrastructure to form the foundation for more member service improvements and business efficiencies.
We have a strong foundation in our cooperative principles, our governance, our finances and our employees. We will continue to strive to shape your financial fitness for the better and build a better world, one member at a time.
President & CEO