League Announces Winners of 2023 Social Responsibility/Member Service Awards
The Virginia Credit Union League is pleased to announce the winners of its 2023 Social Responsibility & Member Service Awards. Each year, the League and the Credit Union National Association sponsor four awards competitions to recognize credit unions for their work in financial education, community service and outreach, and excellence in member service.
“Every day, credit unions showcase the ‘Credit Union Difference’ through their service to members and through their support of the communities they call home,” said Virginia Credit Union League President/CEO Carrie Hunt. “Whether it’s preparing young people to successfully manage their finances, helping a member become a first-time homeowner or supporting the good work of local charities, credit unions understand the importance of putting people first. We’re proud to honor these Virginia-based credit unions for their commitment.”
Eligible 1st-place winners will be forwarded to the Credit Union National Association to compete nationally. National award winners will be announced later this year.
BayPort Credit Union
- 1st Place – Louise Herring Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
BayPort is committed to enhancing member service and improving satisfaction by providing digital and virtual tools that make banking easy and convenient. This past year, BayPort launched its first-ever Digital Branch by combining the YourTeller® interactive teller machines (ITMs) and new account applications into one department to create a better member experience. BayPort’s Digital Branch allows members to experience the same holistic service virtually as they would in person.
- 2nd Place – Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
BayPort is using its "Bite of Reality" simulation app to coach middle and high school students through real-world monthly budgeting and financial decision-making. Students are assigned an occupation and income and learn how their credit score and debt impact factor into monthly money management decisions like food, transportation, housing and childcare. Students gain a deeper understanding of budgeting and spending wisely.
- 2nd Place – Dora Maxwell Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
In 2022, BayPort partnered with two other companies with deep roots in Hampton Roads – Newport News Shipbuilding and Ferguson – to fund a $500,000, multi-year transformational grant called Accelerating Change Together, or simply the ACT Grant. The inaugural year goal of the ACT Grant was to invest in a project with the most significant potential to leave a lasting legacy in our community for Education & Workforce Development. In addition to the $500,000 ACT Grant, BayPort continued its annual philanthropic and corporate giving of more than $500,000, as well as staff volunteerism and fundraising with legacy nonprofit partnerships across its local communities.
- 3rd Place – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
BayPort Credit Union launched several strategic initiatives to promote financial education among members and the community. Building on its longstanding relationship with Newport News Shipbuilding, the credit union offered financial education workshops for NNS employees through the Apprentice School Orientation Program. In addition, the credit union enhanced its Virtual Wellness Series, an online financial education program, and it continued participation in the national Financial Literacy Month program and America Saves Week.
Chartway Credit Union
- 1st Place – Dora Maxwell Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
Chartway Credit Union and the Chartway Promise Foundation provide medically fragile children and their families with memorable experiences that bring joy, hope, and smiles. They also help individuals and families thrive with tangible support like funding for medical equipment and granting wishes to critically ill children. In September 2022, in recognition of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Chartway team held a Make-A-Wish “Wish Reveal” for two special boys at the nationally televised Old Dominion University versus Virginia Tech football game and celebrated another Wish reveal for a Chartway Promise hero at its 23 Annual Charity Golf Classic in Virginia.
CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union
- 1st Place - Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award ($250 million in assets – Less than $1 billion in assets)
With the pandemic behind it, CommonWealth One boosted both its in-person and virtual financial education programs for young people. Through partnerships with Alexandria City Public Schools, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, James Madison University and several other community partners, COFCU engaged with and educated thousands of young people last year on personal finance basics. In addition, its virtual learning resources centered on fun financial literacy programs for the community-at-large including Banzai modules, Centsable games and cartoons, Youth Month contests, summer reading programs, money management for teens and its popular Adulting 101 program for high school and college students.
- 1st Place – Dora Maxwell Award ($250 million in assets – Less than $1 billion in assets)
CommonWealth One created a unique way to engage with and provide its members with opportunities to partner with the CU to give back to our local community. "The Big Giver Contest” encouraged members to nominate a charity, foundation, not-for-profit organization, or community interest project that they felt deserved a $10,000 donation. The Big Giver Campaign gave COFCU a platform to support and highlight local organizations dedicated to doing good with a fun, interactive, and viral giving campaign that positively affected local communities.
DuPont Community Credit Union
- Honorable Mention – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
DCCU believes that improving the financial wellness of members and the community must begin with the financial health of its own employees. Resources are provided to employees through the credit union’s Employee Financial Wellness Classes, which outline strategies for credit management, budgeting, creating a savings plan, and achieving financial goals. They can use this knowledge to alleviate stress and achieve financial stability. Employees who are financially savvy are better positioned to assist our members with creating a roadmap for their own financial success.
Freedom First Credit Union
- 1st Place – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
The credit union was recognized for its Freedom First Enterprises, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2017 to support community development efforts by assisting low- and very low- income consumers with safe alternative financial services. Many of the individuals served by FFE lack the means to access traditional services due to poor credit, job instability, or other life factors. Freedom First Enterprises focuses on providing free financial education to help unbanked and underbanked individuals access safe payday lending alternatives and provide the opportunity to access the financial mainstream.
- 3rd Place – Dora Maxwell Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
The credit union was recognized for the Local Impact for Tomorrow (LIFT) initiative through Freedom First Enterprises (FFE), the 501c3 affiliate for Freedom First Credit Union. LIFT is a cross-industry collaboration between Freedom First, Carilion Clinic, Delta Dental of Virginia, and Roanoke City Public Schools, to provide physical, oral, and financial wellness resources to students and families. In addition, and as part of its community focus, 11.3% of Freedom First's net income was reinvested in the community in 2022, equaling $745,647 in Community Give-Back to local nonprofits, student scholarships, and other community causes.
Northwest Federal Credit Union
- 2nd Place – Louise Herring Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
The CU implemented Zelle, a person-to-person money transfer service, while adding a multi-factor authentication application to further secure members’ accounts. The CU also launched a pre-approval program to provide qualifying members with loan offers available in one click on their mobile device. Both programs were the result of the credit union’s commitment to regular surveys of members regarding services, products and satisfaction. Both services proved wildly popular with members.
- 3rd Place – Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
With a mission to deepen support of children and families, Northwest Federal Credit Union’s Foundation facilitated mentoring for 80 Herndon Middle School students through its new AVID24 program and hosted the students on a field trip to learn about financial literacy and careers; awarded $135,000 in scholarships to 27 outstanding students to help defray college costs; and provided grants to College Access Fairfax and the NOVA Community College Student Success Fund to help ensure students can afford college.
Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union
- 1st Place – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award ($50 million in assets - $250 million in assets)
Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union embraces its status as a Community Development Financial Institution, recently opening two Financial Empowerment Centers in the economically vulnerable areas of downtown Petersburg and Richmond. These centers are a hub for financial education and a doorway for members and our communities to access financial education. The Financial Empowerment Centers are advancing PAFCU’s mission to enable the underserved, underbanked, and no-credit population to access mainstream banking services and secure their financial futures.
- 1st Place – Louise Herring Award ($50 million in assets - $250 million in assets)
The Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union Affordable Housing Program was designed to help first-time home buyers achieve homeownership. As a Community Development Financial Institution, the CU seeks to deliver affordable support to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the financial services mainstream. With the support of the US Department of the Treasury, Virginia CDFI Fund, Inclusiv and support from governmental entities in Virginia, the Affordable Housing Program is setting members with credit scores as low as 580 on the path to a home of their own. As part of the program, participants are also provided with financial education and training that ensures their financial success.
- 2nd Place – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award ($50 million in assets - $250 million in assets)
PAFCU opened a Financial Empowerment Center in downtown Petersburg – an economically vulnerable area -- to provide a hub for financial education. In 2022, the credit union hosted 10 seminars, for 89 member participants. Topics for these seminars included Car Buying, Credit Awareness, Debt Protection, Affordable Homeownership, and more. The Financial Empowerment Center serves as a safe and trusted space to conduct financial counseling, credit analysis, and education on common money management and personal finance topics.
URW Community Federal Credit Union
- 2nd Place – Dora Maxwell Award ($250 million in assets – Less than $1 billion in assets)
Through the support of and participation in dozens of local events and programs, URW Community Federal Credit Union is spreading the word about its consumer-friendly products and services. Its charitable work includes support of the back-to-school Operation Backpack, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Habitat for Humanity and a local homeless shelter. Most recently, the credit union sponsored a playground at a local elementary school.
Virginia Credit Union
- 1st Place – Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets).
In a commitment to focus on financial education for young people in 2022, the financial education team at Virginia Credit Union conducted 330 presentations to students in grades PreK-12, reaching more than 20,000 students aged 18 and under in area schools and through non-profit organizations. To more effectively target this demographic, VACU launched a new initiative titled “Financial Success for Kids,” designed for students ages 4 through 11. The CU developed and implemented a brand new K-5 financial education curriculum in addition to launching a virtual story time series for preschool- and elementary-aged students on YouTube.
- 2nd Place – Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award (Greater than $1 billion in assets)
In partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University, the credit union created an endowed Virginia Credit Union Financial Success Center at VCU. This center supports new and expanded programming to ensure that the VCU community of students, faculty, and alumni are financially healthy. Last year, the center reached more than 7,700 students, faculty, and alumni with financial education programs. Virginia Credit Union has invested $5 million dollars to fund this endowment, as a commitment to our greater community’s financial health and well-being.
Virginia Educators Credit Union
- 1st Place – Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award ($50 million in assets - $250 million in assets)
Leveraging its longstanding relationships with local schools and educators, VECU continues to offer onsite and virtual financial education for students. Participating in special events, mock interviews and through classroom presentations, the credit unions offered lessons on personal finance basics, including the importance of saving and making smart decisions with regard to spending.
About These Awards
The Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award is given to a credit union for its practical application of credit union philosophy within the actual operation of the credit union. It is awarded for internal programs and services that benefit the credit union’s members.
The Dora Maxwell Award is presented to credit unions for outstanding social responsibility projects in their communities.
The Desjardins Awards honor credit unions, chapters, and leagues for their commitment to both youth and adult financial literacy.
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