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League Announces Winners of State Social Responsibility Awards

Lewis Wood
Vice President of Public Relations and Communication
Virginia Credit Union League
800.768.3344, ext. 629

The Virginia Credit Union League is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 Social Responsibility 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.

Nine entries earned first-place honors at the state level and have been forwarded to the Credit Union National Association to compete nationally. National award winners will be announced later this year.

“Service to our members and community is what defines the credit union system,” said Rick Pillow, president of the Virginia Credit Union League. “These award-winning credit unions embody our commitment to our ‘People Helping People’ philosophy and exemplify the Credit Union Difference, continuing our proud tradition of educating consumers about using and managing money, strengthening our communities, and ensuring the financial success of our member-owners.”

Congratulations to the following credit unions:

Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award for excellence in youth financial education.

Virginia Educators Credit Union (1st Place, $50-million-to-$250-million asset category)
The credit union’s entry highlighted several financial education programs, including initiatives to teach elementary school-aged students about the importance of saving, educate high school students about credit scores and support of a student-run credit union based at a local high school. As schools closed at the onset of the pandemic, the credit union transitioned its career day events to a virtual platform.

Henrico Federal Credit Union (1st Place, $250 million-to-$1 billion asset category)
To teach Kindergarten through third grade students about money management and business basics, the credit union set up a Lemonade Challenge in which the students were responsible for deciding pricing, product offerings and how best to manage their team’s finances. They learned cost-benefit analysis, marketing and more. At the end of the challenge, the teams voted on a charity or cause to support with proceeds from their lemonade stands.

BayPort Credit Union (1st Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
BayPort reached more than 10,000 students with lessons on personal finance basics, credit, budgeting and identity theft. The credit union also utilizes a smart phone app to create an immersive and engaging experience to teach students about money management basics. Through its Fast Start Savings account, students of all ages are earning above-market interest rates on deposits, with 25,000 deposits completed during the 2019-2020 school year, totaling more than $2 million in savings.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union (2nd Place, $250 million-to-$1 billion asset category)
CommonWealth One partnered with seven local schools to offer its “Credit Union Day” events, which provide young people lessons on money management, coupled with an opportunity to build their savings. The credit union’s broad-based financial education program pulls together resources from a variety of sources to create a tailored learning experience for specific age groups. To aid teachers during the move to online instruction at the start of the pandemic, the credit union provided financial education resources at no cost, including resources to aid students whose first language is not English.

Virginia Credit Union (2nd Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
Through its “Teen Money Camp” events, school presentations, real world money simulations, pre-school programs and participation in VCU’s Summer Basketball camp, Virginia Credit Union last year reached almost 11,000 young people with lessons on personal finance.

Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award for exemplary adult financial education initiatives.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union (1st Place, $250 million-to-$1 billion asset category)
The credit union’s comprehensive Adult Financial Education program offered in-person workshops, seminars and virtual learning events, all designed to aid members’ understanding of credit and money management essentials. Using targeted financial improvement promotions, one-on-one financial counseling and other resources, the credit union reached 852 members with lessons on budgeting, the importance of an emergency fund and building credit.

Virginia Credit Union (1st Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
Virginia Credit Union’s adult-based financial education programs include free evening seminars at its locations, in workplaces, and in partnership with community organizations, colleges/universities, correctional facilities and through online channels. Among its more unique offerings is the “Financial Freedom for Prisoners” program designed to help inmates transition back into society, with studies showing financial education can help reduce the rate of recidivism among former inmates. In 2019, the credit union’s program reached 1,927 inmates.

BayPort Credit Union (2nd Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
As the pandemic halted the credit union’s planned in-person financial education seminars for 2020, the credit union turned to its Zogo-powered financial education app, a unique education tool that pays users to learn about personal finance through short learning modules. As users complete modules, they earn points toward $5 to $15 gift cards for their favorite retailers and brands. The 3,000 users who have registered for the app have completed more than 95,000 financial education modules and spent more than 4,500 hours learning how to budget and manage money. Users earned more than $5,000 worth of gift cards.

Dora Maxwell Award for excellence in community service and outreach.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union (1st Place, $250 million-to-$1 billion asset category)
The COFCUers in Action program empowers the credit union’s employees to fully embrace credit unions’ “People Helping People” philosophy through community support activities. Among CommonWealth One’s many initiatives is a partnership with James Madison University's College of Business to participate in their annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. With the assistance of more than 300 students, along with the credit union’s staff and student ambassadors, the groups collected non-food and non-perishable food items for Harrisonburg-area food pantries; more than 250 coats for area homeless shelters; and hosted middle school-aged children from the Boys and Girls club for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) mentoring program.

BayPort Credit Union (1st Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
BayPort and its members provide more than $100,000 in grants and scholarships each year to support deserving students pursuing their educational goals. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, the credit union partnered with local TV stations to recognize each of its scholarship winners. With local non-profits struggling to raise funds and provide services during the pandemic, the credit union also donated $150,000 to support the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, the local foodbank and area hospitals.

Louise Herring Philosophy In Action Award for excellence in member service.

Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union (1st Place, $50-million-to-$250-million asset category)
The credit union’s award-winning entry spotlights its Save to Win program, which uses prize drawings to encourage members to save. For every $25 deposit into a Save to Win share certificate account, members earn one entry towards national and credit union drawings, which are held monthly and quarterly. Prizes range from $25 to $5,000. Six months after the mid-year 2019 launch of the program, members had opened 113 savings accounts and deposited almost $175,000.

DuPont Community Credit Union (1st Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
Looking to aid local businesses during the pandemic, DuPont Community Credit Union felt compelled to offer Paycheck Protection Program loans. In a matter of days following the program’s announcement and launch, the credit union assembled a team to apply to become an SBA-designated lender and geared up to offer the loans. By the end of June 2020, DuPont Community had originated 426 PPP loans, totaling $14.5 million, which saved an estimated 2,000 jobs.

BayPort Credit Union (2nd Place, $1 billion-plus asset category)
With the pandemic bringing unexpected financial stress to families throughout its community, BayPort Credit Union launched new tools to help individuals learn how to create a budget and manage money. The credit union’s Zogo-powered app provided short learning modules via users’ connected devices that educated participants on money management essentials. The credit union customized its app offerings to better meet the needs of users during the pandemic, with focused content on Skip-A-Payment programs, financial counseling services, the benefits of credit unions, and more.

Owed to pandemic-related restrictions, the League will not be able to host its annual Recognition Event this November. However, we will honor and celebrate our state-level award winners this Fall through other means. Details to follow!

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