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Michigan Credit Union League Home » Information Services » Publications » News Articles  

MCUL & Affiliates to Honor CU Leaders, Volunteers at AC&E   (Misc News: June 12, 2012)

MCUL & Affiliates and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation announced the winners of this year’s MCUL Awards and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award. These prestigious awards recognize individuals and credit unions that are making significant contributions to the Michigan credit union industry.

The award recipients are:

•    Credit Union Professional of the Year: Jeffrey Benson, CASE CU president and CEO;
•    Outstanding Credit Union of the Year: Genisys CU;
•    Distinguished Service Award: George Isola, Ishpeming Community Federal CU president and CEO, and MCUL board chairman;
•    Chapter Effectiveness Award: Oakland County Chapter;
•    Young Professional of the Year Award: Jeremy Cybulski, Co-op Services CU youth and community development coordinator;
•    Excellence in Consumer Education Award: Vickie Smith, Lake Michigan CU director of business development & community involvement, and;
•    MCUF Community Volunteer of the Year Award: David Cook, Michigan One Community CU board chairman

“These hard-working, dedicated individuals and institutions represent the finest of the Michigan credit union community’s ideals and philosophy,” MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams said. “In terms of membership growth and public awareness, 2011 was a banner year for Michigan credit unions, and we’re especially pleased to recognize these exceptional credit union leaders whose accomplishments are shining examples of what makes our industry great.”

In his first year as CEO, Jeffrey Benson distinguished himself by successfully guiding the credit union through a rebranding campaign with the tagline, “Our service, your success.” Under his leadership, the credit union has experienced significant growth, as well as upgrades in technology and staffing. In 2011, CASE saw loan growth of 47.8%, asset growth of 7.2% and membership growth of 8.3%. Employee turnover declined from 25% in 2010 to just 4% in 2011. Benson implemented cost savings that saved the credit union an estimated $450,000 in 2011.

Genisys was selected as CU of the Year for its outstanding financial performance, high member satisfaction, and expansive dedication to the community, as well as its commitment to political advocacy.

Based in Auburn Hills, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan and one of the strongest in the country with more than $1.4 billion in assets. In 2011, Genisys nce again received a Bauer Financial five-star rating for safety and soundness, while having an outstanding financial year with very strong results. New members joining in 2011 increased 20.7% over 2010. In 2011, the credit union sponsored about 310 community events by providing monetary donations, gifts-in-kind, and over 4,000 hours of hands-on volunteer support.

George Isola has had a successful career in the financial services industry spanning more than 26 years and has been a dynamic leader in the credit union system since 1993. In his 20 years of service, Ishpeming Community Federal CU’s assets have grown from $25 million to over $119 million. The credit union now serves 14,700 members and has expanded to a five-county charter. George is also very devoted to his community and generous with his time. He has served as president of the local Chamber of Commerce and he is a Rotary member and has coached youth hockey and baseball. He is the first person from the Upper Peninsula to serve as MCUL board chairman.
Members of the Oakland County Chapter work tirelessly to give back to the community. In 2011, the chapter helped bring recognition to the OLSHA Walk for Warmth and matched donations of $2100. The chapter also held more than 13 networking and education events in 2011 and organizes the well-attended annual bus trip to Lansing where chapter leaders meet with lawmakers to discuss the importance of credit unions in their districts.

Jeremy Cybulski is a passionate advocate for financial literacy who oversees Co-op Services CU’s student-run branches and gives financial presentations across the area. This year he added another middle school, making a total of nine school partnerships. He also hit a major milestone, giving his 500th presentation since joining Co-Op Services just three years ago.

Each year, Vickie Smith delivers more than 140 presentations on consumer-related issues, reaching more than 3,500 students with the crucial message of the importance of saving and building good credit through Lake Michigan CU’s “Money Matters” program. Smith also presents regularly at five local colleges, and her program is now part of the English as a Second Language curriculum at Grand Rapids Community College.

The MCUF recognizes excellence through the Community Volunteer of the Year Award, and provides a $5,000 scholarship to a student named by the winner. In addition to serving as chairman of the board for Michigan One Community CU, where he has been an active volunteer for nearly 40 years, this year's winner, David Cook, donates his time, talents and energy to numerous organizations in the Ionia area, including the Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, Enrich of Ionia County, and the Grand Rapids Chapter of the March of Dimes.

These awards will be presented during a breakfast ceremony on July 14 during the MCUL & Affiliates Annual Convention and Exposition, which will take place at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme, near Traverse City.

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