Michigan CUs Win National Awards (Misc News: November 22, 2011)
Several Michigan credit unions have been recognized by CUNA as some of the best in the nation for their commitment to community involvement.
Communicating Arts CU of Detroit was awarded first place in its asset size for the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award, while Public Service CU of Romulus received an Honorable Mention in its category. The Herring award is given to credit unions demonstrating the internal application of credit union philosophy to help better financial matters and increase financial education for members.
In its entry, Communicating Arts CU highlighted the work it has done to bring financial resources and services to the often neglected communities of Highland Park and Detroit’s lower east side. That includes opening a branch in one of the most poverty and crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country, a branch which CEO Hank Hubbard said now includes his CU’s most active ATM. Hubbard said that project gave life to a branching strategy to reach into urban neighborhoods from which other financial institutions have fled.
Public Service CU was honored for its work providing seminars such as “Building a Better Credit Report,” which targeted members who attend the Wayne County Community College District, many of whom are older, nontraditional students facing financial challenges. According to Vice President of Operations Linda Wallace, 73 people attended the seminar, which was held on campus in an effort to bring the information right to the target population.
At the seminar, participants were able to view their credit reports, discuss the results with an expert, and get contact information for creditors. Wallace said 13 participants received “Fresh Start Loans” during the process, giving them the opportunity to eradicate negative items on their credit history and the tools to prepare a budget and stay debt-free.
Public Service CU received a second national honor, with an honorable mention in its asset size for the Desjardins Award. This award is named for Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement, and honors credit unions for their commitment to youth and adult financial literacy.
ELGA CU of Burton tied for second place in this year’s Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service award, which recognizes a credit union for its social responsibility work and charitable projects that support its community. Maxwell was an original signer of CUNA’s constitution and a tireless organizer of hundreds of credit unions throughout the United States. She also developed volunteer organizer clubs and worked tirelessly with organizations on behalf of the poor.
Cheryl Sclater, Elga’s business and community development manager, cited the Carriage Town Ministry Women’s Success House as the CU’s most significant project. The goal was to take an abandoned home, give it a full makeover and turn it into a transitional shelter for homeless women and children. Sclater noted that with an estimated 3,500 homeless in Genessee County, the facility would have a significant impact in the community.
"The winners of these prestigious awards embody the philosophy and ideals of our movement, and we are honored to celebrate their achievements,” commented CUNA President & CEO Bill Cheney. “It's no wonder that so many consumers are turning to credit unions these days, which are led and guided by individuals such as these to ever higher levels of service to their members. Commitment to community involvement and member financial education remain at the core of credit union success, and these award winners have demonstrated their personal commitment to these core values for credit unions. Congratulations to them - and to all in the movement who share and practice their values."
All of this year’s winning entries will be on display at CUNA’s 2012 GAC, March 18-22, in Washington. The winners will be recognized during a March 21 reception at the conference.