Herring Winners Dedicated to Education

CUs go above and beyond for members’ financial health.

March 15, 2012

This year’s Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service award winners have demonstrated a dedication to improving members’ financial health.

CUNA’s Awards Committee presents the Herring award to credit unions demonstrating the “internal application of the credit union philosophy” to improve financial matters and expand financial education opportunities for members.

Judges look for creativity in the award entries, says Amy Bucaida, vice president of marketing and communications for the Missouri Credit Union Association, and a member of the CUNA Awards Committee. That’s what will get them noticed, she adds.

Some initiatives recognized by the Louise Herring Award program include exceptional member service, financial counseling for struggling members, and educating members about the credit union difference.

Credit Union Magazine recently spoke with two winning credit unions: Hank Hubbard, president/CEO of Communicating Arts Credit Union in Detroit; and Rachel Langtry, vice president of marketing and communications Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska.

Hank Hubbard
Hank Hubbard, president/CEO, Communicating Arts Credit Union

 

Communicating Arts Credit Union was recognized for meeting the specific needs of low-to-moderate income members with products and services such as the MyPayToday loan and a saving program, Save to Win.

Credit Union 1 won their award for providing reasonably-priced
financial products and services to Alaskan residents who previously lacked access to them.

Credit Union Magazine: Why is it important to offer products and programs encouraging good money management skills to members and/or the local community?

Hubbard: Low-income people [like in our area] often don’t feel like
they have an alternative. They cash their checks at the local liquor store because they don’t feel they like they would be allowed to open
a bank or credit union account. It’s really important for us to get out there, be in the community, and let them know there is a choice out there.

Langtry: Our credit union began as a teachers’ credit union, so education is in our roots. And we take that really seriously. Our goal is to bring financial education to every person we can: from our teller lines, to schools, to the general public.

We want people to know that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and everybody deserves a second chance. We really make an effort to help our members and community navigate through tough times so they can build stronger futures.

Next: More from these award-winning credit unions



CU Mag: What are some factors to consider when designing products or programs intended to improve members’ money management skills?

Hubbard: You want to think about things from [your audience’s] standpoint. You don’t want to dumb things down, and you don’t want them to [feel] like they’re [getting] handouts. You really have to be careful in terms of how you present [a product or program].

Langtry: You need to know it takes a large time commitment, but it’s worth it if it’s something you really want to do. You have to tweak it, and listen to your members and your teachers teaching the program, and then adjust accordingly. You have to be adaptable. What works this year may not work next year.

Rachel Langtry
Rachel Langtry, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Credit Union 1

  CU Mag: What advice would you offer a credit union looking to start       programs and products designed to improve members’ money                 management skills?

  Hubbard: You have to look at the area that you want to serve. You         have to do your best to understand the area, and you have to make       decisions based on the area and the people. You [also] have to             realize who your target market is when you’re creating products, and       price the product accordingly.

  Langtry (left): If you want your program to be successful you have to     put the time and effort into doing it. You have to be proactive in terms     of marketing it. You also have to have a culture of community within         your credit union.

  You also really need to reach out to your nonprofit community. They       need a lot of help, and in turn they can help you get your program off     the ground, because they have clients and people that really need         the services of the credit union.

Louise Herring Award2011 LOUISE HERRING AWARD WINNERS

First-place winners of the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service award amped up their financial education outreach and services in these ways:

  • Communicating Arts Credit Union, Detroit, for meeting the specific needs of low-to-moderate income members with products and services such as the MyPayToday loan and a saving program, Save to Win;
  • St. Louis (Mo.) Community Credit Union, for offering competitive, low-cost payday lending services, designed to help struggling individuals and families fund monthly budget shortfalls;
  • Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska, for providing reasonably-priced financial products and services to Alaskan residents who previously lacked access to them; and
  • Eastman Credit Union, Kingsport, N.Y. for returning $4 million in assets this year to loyal members in good standing, as a part of its Extraordinary Dividend program.
Winning entries will be on display next week at CUNA’s 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.