CU Magazine Announces 2011 CU Hero of the Year

CEO devotes his career to the financial needs of small-town North Carolina.

May 20, 2011
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Maurice Smith, president/CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C., has been voted Credit Union Magazine’s CU Hero of the Year.

Smith continues to help his credit union’s members through tough financial times by providing mortgage loan modifications, alternatives to subprime debt, and unemployment protection options.

Credit Union Magazine readers also commended three other credit union leaders this year as CU Heroes:

  • Ron Amstutz,executive vice president, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Phoenix. He faced a devastating personal challenge when his son was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. His son recovered, and Amstutz paid it forward, helping his credit union become the No. 1 U.S. credit union for Children’s Miracle Network fund raising.
  • Michael Bittle,CEO, Vanderbilt University Employees’ Credit Union, Nashville, Tenn. When his neighbors and members suffered damage from the May 2010 Nashville floods, he rolled up his sleeves and created a suite of flood-relief loan products to help them through the difficult days.
  • Carol Schillios,founder of Schillios Consulting Group, Seattle. A microfinance entrepreneur, she has helped establish numerous cooperative programs in countries around the world. Her peers refer to her as “Ms. Credit Union.”

Voting took place on through May 13.

Smith will be honored at the America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo (ACUC) in San Antonio, June 19-22.

In addition to dozens of preconference, keynote, discovery, thought-leader, and executive series sessions, ACUC attendees will have plenty of time to network with the heroes among us who make daily differences in the lives of their members and in their communities.

Intersting article

Dean Archer
June 01, 2011 4:03 pm
Take a look at this and send Maurice a congratulatory note.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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