Spotlight On: Jim Adamczyk, SEVP & Chief Revenue Officer, FAIRWINDS Credit Union

Spotlight On: Jim Adamczyk, SEVP & Chief Revenue Officer, FAIRWINDS Credit Union

2022-07-11T09:29:28-04:00January 11th, 2022|Banking & Finance, Orlando, Spotlight On|

AIRWINDS Credit Union2 min read January 2022 FAIRWINDS is an American member-owned credit union that is headquartered in Orlando, Florida and serves members nationwide. In an interview with Invest:, SEVP and Chief Revenue Officer Jim Adamczyk discussed takeaways, shifts in demand, PPP loans and loan forgiveness, the economic environment, talent recruitment and retention, financial literacy and the use of technology.    

How has demand for your services shifted over the past two years?

Consumers have shifted to utilizing technology for everyday banking needs. The digital side of the business has been growing exponentially as the pandemic pushed business transactions to digital channels. Many businesses have changed their software and hardware to accept new forms of contactless payments. At FAIRWINDS, we’ve seen an increase in digital new accounts, digital mortgages, virtual appointments, and other transactions through electronic channels. Our brick-and-mortar branches are still vital in serving and offering guidance to our members, while we continue to develop and provide the technology and virtual services that consumers demand.

As those transactions increase, we continue to enhance our protections around member security. The protection of our members’ information is our highest priority, especially with the number of cybersecurity threats that are targeting financial institutions. In addition to our own in-house cyber security specialists, we also partner with other security companies to help us mitigate risks.   

How has the forgiveness process for PPP loans unfolded?

We were able to set up the PPP program very quickly and have had a successful working relationship with the federal government. We were able to help about 1,500 businesses during the first round and 600 businesses in the second round, contributing to the financial benefit of more than 10,000 Central Florida workers. I’m proud to report almost all of the debt has been forgiven. 

What are some challenges from the current economic environment?

The low-interest-rate environment is a challenge for banks, as it compresses margins. It shows that you need alternative sources of revenue other than those driven by interest rates. We are expecting a rise in interest rates in 2022; however, as a not-for-profit financial, we can make long-term decisions that allow us to navigate the low-interest rate environment without many major impacts to our members or employees.

Inflation will last well into 2022. We continue to stay focused on preparing our members to have an emergency savings account with at least $1,000, save three to six months of expenses, and  work to pay off debt as quickly as possible. 

What are some strategies implemented by FAIRWINDS Credit Union to recruit and retain talent?

We are consistently recognized and named a best place to work and top employer. We offer generous employee programs, including a 6% 401(k) match and a wellness reimbursement program, where employees can cash in their sick days to pay for gym memberships or other health-related benefits. We have adopted a digital approach to attracting new employees. We are active on social media and have been increasing our digital advertising, as well as switching to remote interviews and skills assessments.

What is your overall assessment of financial literacy today?

We are the financial partner that doesn’t want you to have debt. We help our members save more, eliminate debt, build wealth, and live generously as they work to achieve financial freedom. All our services align with financial health; for example, we offer an emergency savings account, we encourage short-term financing, and encourage our members to pay off their loans with FAIRWINDS, and elsewhere, as quickly as possible. We design these products, services and education around financial well-being and the journey to financial freedom.

How do you see the future of finance as it relates to technology?

Financial technology will continue to disrupt business models in the years ahead, from the automation of routine processes to machine learning and artificial intelligence guiding decision making. There are benefits for traditional banks and their customers to adapt to this change, banking as a lifestyle. Fintech is growing at a rapid pace, and we are seeing more banks partner with fintechs on mutually beneficial projects. We also expect banks to move to an open-banking framework which will open the door to new potential revenue streams and new benefits for account holders.

What is the outlook for FAIRWINDS and the financial sector in Central Florida for the next few years?

The outlook is strong. Around 1,500 people are moving to Central Florida every week. Migration is high and it is creating demand for professional services, education, tourism, and healthcare-related services. In addition, our space programs and research areas are expanding, and the overall growth is contributing to the increase in housing demand, as well as the businesses that support the industry. As a result, we expect the real estate market to remain strong. Our mortgage business has had record year after record year. While we expect a shift from a refinance market to a heavy purchase market next year, we are prepared. We also see a growing unmet need in the small business community, and we believe we are positioned well to serve those businesses. We have a responsibility to help our members build wealth and prepare for retirement, and we are investing in our delivery of these crucial financial services.

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