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Michigan Credit Union League

MCUL & Affiliates Announce 2016 MCUL Award Winners

The Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates (MCUL) has announced the winners of the 2016 Michigan Credit Union League Awards.

This year’s honorees were selected based upon nominations from throughout the Michigan credit union community, and evaluated by MCUL’s judging panel and representatives from the combined Community Reinvestment Initiative (CRI) and Awards Committee. Those nominations were submitted to MCUL’s Board of Directors as recommendations for 2016 awards recipients, who will be recognized at MCUL's Annual Convention & Exposition (AC&E) this June 9-11 in Detroit.

This year’s winners are as follows:

Credit Union Professional of the Year: Scott McFarland, CEO of Honor CU
Since being named CEO of Honor Credit Union in 2008, Scott McFarland has built a team that reflects a philosophy of “people helping people” while also growing the institution by 170 percent. McFarland credits that growth to a strong member and community base, a progressive and supportive board of directors and the credit union’s dedicated staff and executive team. McFarland believes the key to serving more members is by serving each member individually, and the credit union’s goal is to provide each member not only with solutions for financial success, but with an overall member experience that exceeds expectations.

 

Outstanding Credit Union of the Year - $50 million - $400 million: Peninsula FCU
Peninsula Federal Credit Union has been a trusted financial partner in the community for the past 74 years by balancing both return to members and financial strength. During the past five years, Peninsula FCU’s loan balances have increased by 78 percent, its loan-to-share ratio has improved from 63 percent to 89 percent, its average member relationship has increased from $12,700 to $19,000 and its accounts-per-member ratio increased from 2.58 to 3.13. The credit union has also added a merchant services program, VISA Checkout, a member rewards program and more during the last year. Peninsula is a longtime participant in MCUL’s “Save to Win” program, awarding more than $38,000 in prizes to members since 2010. In 2015 the credit union and its employees performed more than 2,000 hours of volunteer community service and donates more than $12,000 to local charities.

 

Outstanding Credit Union of the Year – $400 million or more: ELGA CU
ELGA Credit Union had an impressive year. In addition to conquering a major data processing conversion, implementing a new loan origination system, bringing card processing in-house and introducing a new online banking platform, ELGA Credit Union managed to maintain a robust lending program, boosting lending by 12 percent, with a record of more than 12,900 loans written for a total of nearly $146 million. Thanks to return on average assets of 1.86 percent, reserves rose to $6.9 million. ELGA also received Raddon’s Crystal Performance Award in recognition of its strong financial performance. Meanwhile, associates were busy in the community volunteering more than 2,400 hours of their own time and raising more than $100,000 to benefit local charities.

 

Chapter Effectiveness Award: Oakland County Chapter
MCUL’s Oakland County Chapter strives to live up to its mission statement: “To strengthen and support the credit union industry in Michigan through collaboration, engagement and education.” One of the chapter’s top priorities continues to be providing educational opportunities for Oakland County credit unions, and in 2015 the chapter held two educational events and collaborated with the Metro West Chapter in order to broaden its educational reach.

As of October 2015, the chapter raised more than $37,000 in support of both PACs. Additionally, two legislative events were held along with a bus trip to Lansing where lawmakers joined chapter representatives to discuss topics such as data breach liability, payday lending, updating the Michigan Credit Union Act and more. The chapter also hosted visits from Reps. Mike Bishop and Dave Trott for meet-and-greet events, with 50 chapter members showing up to welcome the Congressmen and offer their support.

 

Young Professional of the Year: Katie Berry, Honor CU
Katie Berry joined Honor Credit Union six years ago as the benefits coordinator and today serves as Honor’s director of human resources. In that role, Berry has helped develop the credit union’s HR department, overseen hiring and promotion processes, and supervised employee benefit options and packages to ensure that the credit union’s staff are in the best position possible to coach and develop their teams.

Berry’s passion for the credit union has made her a well-respected member of the Honor Credit Union team and a model for HR professionals in any industry. She was an integral component of Honor Credit Union’s biannual cultural survey, along with individual team member assessments, and she plays a crucial role in minimizing turnover and maximizing promotion, while also working with team members to recognize employees’ talent and potential. Berry continues to help improve the credit union by using all instances of employee turnover as learning opportunities, working to identify areas where the credit union can improve and minimize future attrition.

 

Youth Advocate of the Year: Brenda Huyck, SageLink CU
Brenda Huyck has been with SageLink Credit Union for more than eight years, much of that time spent improving the credit union’s financial literacy curriculum. What began five years ago in one classroom has now expanded to 16 classrooms for a six-week course that sees students meeting on average twice monthly. SageLink Credit Union officials credit Huyck as the main driver of the program’s success. Her passion for teaching children about money basics and financial stability illustrates her dedication to the financial literacy program and the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”

 

Innovation Award – $400 million or more: LAFCU
LAFCU strives to maintain a physical presence in every community it serves, in daily business and at the special events that make each community unique. This is accomplished through sponsorships, countless hours of employee involvement and now with the help of five giant letters spelling LAFCU. The letters are part of a new campaign aptly titled “Down to the Letter.” Larger than an average person, the huge blue letters were first introduced in a TV commercial with a team of 12 LAFCU employees constructing them, exemplifying teamwork and LAFCU’s 80-year history of building strength and integrity. This innovative approach to reaching out to the community has proven to create some social media buzz for the credit union in a fun and interesting way.

 

Innovation Award – $50 million - $400 million: Northland Area FCU
Northland Area Federal Credit Union finds numerous ways to give back to the community through unique and interesting initiatives. The credit union has allocated funds to assist members with extra expenses associated with the holidays and winter utilities for several years. In a low-income field of membership, this initiative is an important alternative to payday lenders who may charge interest rates in excess of 200 percent. That’s especially for members during the cold Michigan winter. Through Northland FCU’s MyLOAN, the credit union has taken the traditional, credit score-driven holiday loan direct mailer and transformed it into a proven member relationship driver with reduced losses. The 2015 MyLOAN serves low-income members, includes an expanded draw period, and counters competitive holiday and winter loans in the marketplace. Based on the success of that product, Northland Area Federal Credit Union is pilot testing internal mechanism to allow MSRs to pre-approve loans and offer loan funding on the teller line.

 

Distinguished Service Award – Phil Matous, Total Community Credit Union (Retired)
You could say that Phil Matous was born into credit unions.

Matous, retired president and CEO of Total Community Credit Union in Taylor, is the son of Frank Matous, who helped found Warren-based Tandem FCU. Matous and his three brothers were a presence at Tandem throughout their childhoods, and he has said that credit unions are in the family bloodline.

Matous ultimately spent 45 years in the industry before his retirement in 2015, and 35 of those years were spent at the helm of $59 million Total Community Credit Union. In addition to leading Total Community Credit Union, Matous was also a member of the legislative committee. He was active in promoting credit unions and working to ensure that credit unions had a voice in Washington, D.C. He urged volunteer leaders to attend state and national governmental affairs events, if only to show lawmakers the large numbers of credit union leaders who care deeply about the future of the movement. Matous once even mailed legislators multiple copies of a 1,100-page document outlining a proposed CFPB regulation on TILA-RESPA.

Matous’s brother, Frank Matous, Jr., was also a longtime credit union CEO. Both exemplified their father’s love of service and belief in the “people helping people” philosophy.

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