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Credit Unions Earn National Recognition

Four Missouri credit unions earned national recognition from the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) awards program. CUNA will honor the winning credit unions during the 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C.

CommunityAmerica Credit Union ($500M +)
First Place: Desjardin Youth Financial Education Award
Honorable Mention: Desjardin Adult Financial Education Award

CommunityAmerica’s award entry, “Youth Financial Education: A Multi-Pronged Strategy,” was designed to teach financial fundamentals, as well as encourage and support other youth financial projects in the community.  Examples of the project include the Cash ‘n Coins Club – a savings account for kids under 13, a kid-friendly mobile app designed to engage parents and their kids in deeper conversations about the basics of money management and sponsorship of School of Economics, a local experiential program for kids.

“CommunityAmerica believes teaching young people about money is imperative to the overall goal of breaking the cycle of debt in America,” says Barry Brakeville, director of corporate communications. “By employing several different programs to impart our message, we believe we cast a wider net and are able to influence a wider variety of people.”

CommunityAmerica also earned an honorable mention for “Using Education, Awareness and Collaboration to Foster Financial Literacy in Our Community,” an award entry that encouraged local adults to become more financially savvy. The credit union’s efforts included a community engagement campaigned featuring guidance from CommunityAmerica’s Savin’ Mavens, a successful media relations and social media initiative that relays money management tips and savings advice. In addition, the credit union offers a 10-month financial makeover program in which four families compete to reduce their debt and increase their savings for a grand prize of $10,000. The credit union also partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to promote financial literacy through the its annual community outreach initial, Money Smart Month.

“While CommunityAmerica strives to help people of all ages become more financially savvy, we focus on underserved segments of the adult population that often are overlooked—young adults and struggling adults,” says Brakeville. “We believe our efforts help raise awareness of the tremendous financial illiteracy problem plaguing society today.”

Mid Missouri Credit Union ($100-$200M)
First Place: Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award

Mid Missouri earned recognition for its Sixth Annual Military Appreciation Day in which the credit union provides more than 2,000 tickets to a Springfield Cardinals Baseball game for active duty and retired military and their immediate family members. The credit union buys tickets for the Military Appreciation day at the ballpark, and military families enjoy the event free of charge.

“There are so many men and women who fight or have fought to keep us free of harm, and this is one small token to show them that we appreciate all they do for us,” says Tracy McCord, senior vice president of marketing. “It takes a community of people to raise enough money to put on an event of this magnitude, that without the help of our staff, local businesses and our community this event would not have been possible for the past six years.”

St. Louis Community Credit Union ($50-$250M)
First Place: Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award

Working in conjunction with partner organizations, St. Louis Community opened micro-branches within the facilities of social service agencies that provide resources and financial capability to underserved populations. The award entry, “Micro-Branching in Financially Underserved Communities” highlights the credit union’s unique platform to build rapport with a population that is, for many reasons, weary of mainstream financial institutions. With this program, the unbanked are quickly becoming banked and are gaining access to affordable loan dollars as well as checking, savings and electronic account services.

“Many years ago, we made a commitment to serve the underserved using accessible products and services,” says Paul Woodruff, community development manager. “This priority has been met with a great deal of success.  However, with the opening of these new micro-branches, the credit union is even better able to reach populations in desperate need of banking options and provide more convenient locations from which to serve our membership.”

United Labor Credit Union
First Place: Desjardin Adult Financial Education Award (less than $50M)
First Place: Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award ($5-$20M)

Honorable Mention: Louise Herring Award (less than $50M)

United Labor’s FinU: Financial Education for Union Apprentices program consists of seven financial education modules and was designed to assist in the financial stability of apprentices in approximately 70 labor unions in the Kansas City area. During the training course, United Labor President/CEO Tim Vogler provides instruction on topics like Building Your Financial Plan, Basics of Budgeting, Investing 101, Debt Management & Credit and more. To date, more than 500 Union members have taken part in the program.

“United Labor remains dedicated to providing unique solutions that meet our members’ specific needs,” says Vogler. “Recognition of our dedication just fuels our staff and board’s desire to grow our programs to the next level, and find new ways to help each individual and family save money and succeed financially.”

The credit union also received recognition for its Operation: Maximum Impact program, which was the credit union’s take on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. United Labor organized a construction crew of industry experts from multiple Union crafts to renovate one deserving member’s home in the amount of more than $100,000. The turn-of-the-century home was improved to restore safety and security for the family. The renovation also reduced energy costs by more than 40 percent by adding new windows and doors, insulation, heating and cooling units and more, saving the family approximately $7,000 per year. 

United Labor also received an honorable mention from CUNA for its annual Union Retiree Financial Forum, a day-long event that helps prepare Union workers for retirement through presentations on investment income strategies, Medicare, estate planning, identity theft protection and more. 

For a complete list of national and state-level winners, visit the MCUA awards page.