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

Credit Unions Recognized with Innovation Awards   (Misc News: May 29, 2013)

The Michigan credit union community’s largest gathering was the perfect place to recognize the outstanding achievements of several credit unions and individuals over the past year. A number of accolades and awards were handed out at the MCUL & Affiliates Annual Convention & Exposition, including the first annual Innovation Awards.

MCUL launched the Innovation contest earlier this year as a way to showcase and highlight the cutting edge programs, products, and services in the state’s credit unions. Sixteen credit unions from all across the state, and from all asset sizes, submitted entries and supporting documents which were then reviewed by a panel of judges including MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams.

“Choosing between all of these outstanding entries was no easy task,” Adams said. “We were greatly impressed by the depth and range of innovation that is taking place in Michigan credit unions. We salute the winning credit unions for their forward-thinking, creative programs that take the credit union difference to a whole new level.”  

In the up to $50 million asset category, the winner is Jackson Community FCU. The credit union recently began offering a recourse lending program in partnership with a local auto dealer. The program allows members who have bad credit, or unusual financial situations to get regular financing for responsible vehicles with affordable prices, payments, terms and rates. Through the program, the dealership backs the loan 100%, and if for some reason the member cannot or will not make the payments the car is repossessed and returned directly to the dealership. The dealership then pays off the vehicle, plus any repo costs. The member agrees to have a tracking device installed in the vehicle which can disable it. The dealership deposits 12% of the financed value into a regular share savings account as an upfront deposit of guarantee, and the credit union agrees to finance the vehicle and put it on the books as a regular loan at 7.49%.

The winner in the $50 million-$400 million asset category is Frankenmuth CU. Just a few months ago, the credit union launched The Great $2,000,000 Community Challenge. The credit union is tracking how much it saves members who refinance their loans with Frankenmuth, and when they reach the point that they have saved members $2 million in interest, they will donate a total of $10,000 to the 5 charities. Members had the chance to vote on which charities would receive $2,000 via Facebook and the credit union’s website. Since September 2012, the credit union has saved members more than $700,000.

Michigan First CU was selected as the winner in the more than $400 million asset category for its Every Member’s Experience Counts program. Michigan First developed the program themselves and it is believed to be the only one of its kind in financial circles. The program is designed to get members to build stronger emotional connections with the credit union by treating them the way they want to be treated. Members are be broken down into four different groups, depending upon how they emotionally approach handling finances. These groups are identified by different colors. Both new and existing members are surveyed with a simple tool through a variety of channels. Their particular emotional or color predominance is then stored at the account level to help team members know how to best connect with that member. 

Click here to view a video about the Innovation contest and to hear more about the winning programs and credit unions.

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