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Missouri Credit Unions Earn Top Awards at GAC

Several Missouri credit unions received recognition at the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) for their efforts to improve members' financial lives and positively impact the community.

St. Louis Community Credit Union earned the "2013 Member Benefits Top Performer Award for delivering a direct benefit of $284 per member household." The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that St. Louis Community is among the nation's best in providing direct financial benefits to its members. These benefits arise from low loan interest rates, higher-than-average deposit yields and fewer fees. St. Louis Community Board Chairman Gerald Brooks accepted the award on behalf of the credit union.     

“This award has special meaning for us because it validates our existence as a not-for-profit financial cooperative,” said Michael O’Brien, SVP, St. Louis Community Credit Union.  “We try our best to bring value to our members in all that we do – especially those members who struggle to make ends meet.  The fact that our credit union has been recognized as a ‘Top Performer’ shows that we are doing what we can to make a difference in our members’ lives.”  

Anheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union (St. Louis), CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City), Electro Savings Credit Union (St. Louis), Mazuma Credit Union (Kansas City) and St. Louis Community were national winners in the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action and Desjardins Financial Education Award categories.

In the $250 Million - $1 billion asset size category for Louise Herring, Mazuma received second place for a number of programs that assisted members, including loan refinance campaigns, mobile banking and, most notably, its collection modification program, which offers more flexibility for members. 

"We see it as our responsibility to make the communities we serve happier places to live and work,” said Mazuma CEO Brandon Michaels. “I’d like to thank the Mazuma Team Members for all the hard work they put in to serve our Members. It's an honor to receive national recognition for the work we love to do every day."

In the  $1 billion + Louise Herring asset size category, Anheuser-Busch Employees’ (ABECU) received an honorable mention for its disaster assistance loan program. This loan program is activated when a significant natural disaster occurs where ABECU members reside. If a natural disaster occurs where members live, pertinent information about the program is sent out from the nearest branch, its website and social media. A detailed contact list of members is also created and provided to local staff for direct follow up with members.

“ABECU designed the disaster assistance loan as a means of providing members with the cash they need for temporary living expenses and repairs until disaster relief or insurance payments are received,” says Pier Alsup, ABECU senior vice president of Marketing and Communications. “This loan is unique in that it has an interest-free period of six months and a rate of 1percent below the prime for the following twelve months."

In the Desjardins $50 - $150 million asset size category, Electro Savings received first place for the adult category of the Desjardins Award. ESCU strives to be a leader in financial education in its communities by keeping presentations consistent, non-pushy and requirement-free. The credit union finds that this strengthens word-of-mouth recommendations and builds valuable partnerships. 

"We have grown our financial literacy efforts over the past few years reaching out to local community groups, schools, businesses, and individuals to offer educational presentations, materials and counseling,” says Laura Mugge, of the ESCU  Community Development and Relations department.

For the $150 - $500 million asset size, St. Louis Community won first place in the adult category for Desjardins. The SLCCU Community Relations team uses several of CUNA’s curricula, as well as staffed-developed educational modules to instruct adults of all ages. These programs included PowerPoint presentations, pre- and post-tests, handouts and other useful information to help adults gain a better understanding of important financial issues.

“We believe that financial education leads to financial capability and empowerment,” says Paul Woodruff, vice president of SLCCU Community Development. “By working with our partners, our financial education efforts play a major role in strengthening individuals and families. From our perspective, this is a critical giveback to the community.”

In the $500 million + asset size category, CommunityAmerica won second place in both the youth and adult Desjardins Award categories for its dedication to helping break the cycle of debt in America though financial education.

"CommunityAmerica is very pleased to be recognized again for its financial literacy activities and outreach," says Barry Brakeville, CommunityAmerica Marketing director, Corporate Communications. "We believe our practical financial literacy outreach to members and prospects in our community helps break the cycle of debt, creating very real, positive long-term change."

Photo Caption:  Missouri credit union representatives attend the awards ceremony.