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Michigan Credit Union League

How Two Michigan Credit Unions Won National CUNA Awards in 2021

Administered by the Michigan Credit Union League and CUNA, the Louise Herring, Dora Maxwell and Alphonse Desjardins awards programs are a wonderful way for credit unions to showcase all the great things they do for their members and their communities. 

Nominations for Michigan’s 2022 state and national CUNA Awards are open until July 8.

Submit Nomination Now

Let’s take a look at the 2021 winners, including a profile of the two Michigan credit unions that went on to win CUNA Awards at the national level:

One Detroit Credit Union: Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Award, 1st Place
 

One Detroit launched its Credit Builder Loan program to bolster credit scores and help improve access to credit. The average FICO score in the Detroit Metro area is 608, among the lowest average scores for large cities in the U.S. Pandemic-related deposit increases provided an opportunity for members to improve their scores by using available funds as collateral for a loan. Since launching Credit Builder in October 2020, the credit union has closed 41 loans totaling $85,900.

Members may borrow up to the amount in their share savings account. The credit union puts those funds on hold and provides the member with a loan in the same amount, in the form of a check or a deposit into their checking account. As a share-secured loan, Credit Builder has immediate underwriting and a fast approval process because every application is approved.

Loans have up to a 24-month term, a $20 application fee and a 4.5% APR, regardless of credit score. Members who were in a hurry could still take advantage of the program without requiring an additional branch visit or lengthy waiting period. Funds were immediately available.

Upon approval, the member makes payments on the loan through a monthly automatic withdrawal from their checking account, via direct deposit, online payment portal or by sending in a check each month.

The on-time payments are reported to credit agencies, which helps improve credit scores, making it easier for the member to obtain a credit card at a better rate in the future or to secure financing for major purchases, such as a car or a house. This was important for the credit union’s membership because many live paycheck to paycheck and have a limited or damaged credit history. Using Credit Builder, they were able to show they could handle consistently making on-time payments

Alliance Catholic Credit Union: Alphonse Desjardins (Adult Category) Award, 2nd Place


The requisite cancellation of in-person financial wellness sessions during 2020 did not deter Alliance Catholic from addressing the connection between financial peace-of-mind and overall health. The credit union recognized the community’s need for this valuable information has only increased through the pandemic, and provided sessions online for university students, while also created two supplemental original content videos.

The project built upon the foundation of online and in-person financial education the credit union had established over several years. The credit union seeks to reach members and non-members in a way that corresponds to their schedule and physical location, crafting presentations to meet a group’s specific needs and interests. Financial educators make their contact information available for student follow-up and further guidance. Students are encouraged to learn more and make their own financial plan using calculators and other tools available in the credit union’s online financial wellness center.

The following are credit unions who won CUNA Awards at the state level:

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award
This award promotes social responsibility among credit unions by formally recognizing their community service achievements.
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union (> $1B): My Teacher Is… Grant Program
  • FreeStar Financial Credit Union ($250M–$1B): Halloween Stroll
  • Catholic Vantage Financial Credit Union ($50M–$250M): Teacher Impact Awards
Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award
This award promotes credit union philosophy by formally recognizing credit unions that demonstrate in an extraordinary way the practical application of that philosophy for their members.
  • Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union (> $1B): MSGCU Scholarship Celebration 2021
  • Kellogg Community Credit Union ($250M–$1B): Excellence Awards
Alphonse Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award
This award honors leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of youth financial literacy.
  • Genisys Credit Union (> $1B): Virtual Financial Reality Fairs
  • CASE Credit Union ($250M–$1B): Never too Soon to Innovate
Alphonse Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award
This award honors leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of adult financial literacy.

State-Level Winners:

  • University of Michigan Credit Union (> $1B): Stop, Start, Continue — Helping Members Overcome the Financial Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Alliance Catholic Credit Union ($250M–$1B): Financial Wellness to Support Overall Health

More details about each award, including how to submit a nomination, can be found here.

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2022-06-23 00:00:00