Maine Story Archive

Celebrating Community Engagement

August 31, 2022 — The heat was on this August as credit unions across Maine raced to embrace the last few weeks of summer! Between back-to-school donations and fundraising activities, our credit unions never had a dull moment. Here is a snapshot of what August sunshine brought to some of Maine’s credit unions:

  • The branches of Community CU collected donations in support of Make-A-Wish.
  • A team from Connected CU enjoyed the weather while participating in the Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area Spring for Hope Golf Tournament.
  • cPort CU held their Member Appreciation Week August 8-12. They rotated serving a free lunch to members through each of their five branches all week and had multiple big giveaway items up for grabs.
  • Downeast CU welcomed members to their brand new Brewer location. The Bangor branch is permanently closed, and the team is excited to continue assisting members in the new space.
  • Evergreen CU’s Windham branch won two Windham Eagle Choice Awards: 2nd Place Mortgage Category and 1st Place Bank/Credit Union. Congratulations, Evergreen CU!
  • Five County CU sponsored the Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival on August 20.
  • Northeast CU celebrated the one-year anniversary of its President/CEO Chris Parker’s arrival at the credit union with the launch of a new mission: “To enrich and nourish the lives of others: our members, our employees, and our communities.”
  • This August, all PeoplesChoice CU branch locations collected school supplies and donations for elementary schools in southern Maine.
  • Sabattus Regional CU hosted a donation box in their lobby for the Community Cares Backpack Program, encouraging members to donate to those in need.
  • Saco Valley CU served as a Silver Level sponsor for this year’s River Jam Festival. The event provided a free day of fun for families alongside the Saco River.
  • University CU staff helped welcome incoming University of Maine students to campuses across the state.

Click here to read more.

Town & CountryMaine CU Begins to Offer Mental Health Benefit to Employees

Courtesy of CUToday.info

June 28, 2022 — Maine–Town& Country FCU said it has become one of the first organizations in Maine to introduce a new employee mental health benefit.

Partnering with UNUM Behavioral Health, the new benefit offers all Town & Country staff and their immediate family members age 18 and older free access to a variety of mental health and wellness solutions, programs, and resources, the CU reported.

“Recognizing that the past two plus years have added additional stress, anxiety and depression among people of all ages, Town & Country proactively pursued finding something to not only help employees and family members currently struggling but to offer multiple options to help staff potentially prevent or mitigate mental health and wellness challenges in the future,” T&CFCU stated in announcing the new benefit.

‘Top of List of Challenges’

In a statement, Betsy St. Pierre, human resources manager at Town & Country FCU who was part of the team that suggested and ultimately implemented the new benefit, said, “Mental health is on the top of the list of challenges in the day to day workplace. The first barrier I would always get to is ‘I can’t afford it,’ And that’s really sad if somebody needs help and can’t afford it. We’re getting the tools in their hands that they need to manage their mental health on their own. This is available to all employees whether they participate in our health insurance plan or not, and insurance is not involved.”

According to T&CFCU, since it was first launched as part of the credit union’s recognition of May’s designation as Mental Health Awareness month, more than 40% of TCFCU’s staff have already signed up for the new benefit and feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

Strong Staff Reaction

“Throughout the organization, staff have been both surprised that this is now available at no charge and really appreciative that it is. It’s been really exciting to roll it out and hear the reaction from staff,” said St. Pierre.

Added Maxime Guillaume, associate vice president of workplace wellness and general manager of UNUM Behavioral Health, which administers the program, “We’re all in a different place on the mental health spectrum over the course of the year. One month we’re doing great, and another month we’re facing more challenges. Maine is facing a shortage of therapists, which can make getting help for anxiety, depression and other mood disorders more difficult.”

Three Pathways

UNUM Behavioral Health said the program it provides and is offered by Town & Country includes three different support “pathways”:

  • Self-paced programs with exercises that help people identify symptoms and triggers of stress, and build strategies to prevent them
  • A coaching program through an app: it combines chat-based coach and peer support, virtual workshops, and more
  • A 12-week treatment program, also through an app, for people dealing with depression, burnout, and anxiety, with support from licensed clinicians

The $515-million T&CFCU has approximately 40,000 members.


The Maine Challenge: Goal to Raise $100K in 30 Days to Fight Hunger

Courtesy of CUToday.info

The Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger today is launching its third annual $100,000 Challenge.

Maine Hunger

Over the next 30 days as part of National Hunger Awareness Month, Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger will seek to raise the $100,000 for Good Shepherd Food Bank, local community food pantries, and meal sites.

The initiative replicates a successful fundraising drive the Campaign sponsored for two years to help Good Shepherd Food Bank and its partner organizations meet the unprecedented demand for food, according to the Maine Credit Union League.

“Our league, along with our entire credit union network, is deeply committed to this issue and we are working hard with our community partners year-round to eliminate hunger in Maine by 2030,” said Todd Mason, president/CEO of the Maine league in a statement. “Initiatives like these, which raise both dollars and awareness, will certainly help us reach that goal.”

As part of the challenge, the league said financial institutions, businesses, and individuals are being encouraged to make a secure online donation to Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger. Some credit unions also are accepting donations at their branches, the MCUL added.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised by Maine credit unions either online or in branches during the Challenge will be used to support local food pantries and meal sites. 25% of the funds raised online will directly benefit Good Shepherd Food Bank.

‘Incredible Outpouring’

“There was an incredible outpouring of support for this effort last year as well as the year before,” said Cheryl Lancaster, EVP-member services at the Maine Credit Union League. “In 2021, we raised $110,000 in 30 days. If people across our great state accept our challenge and open their hearts and wallets once again, I believe we can raise even more this year.”

Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised more than $11.3 million, including over $930,000 in food and cash contributions in 2021.


Maine report shows credit unions held 22% of all assets in state at mid-year ‘21

January 21, 2022 — There were 56 credit unions authorized to do business in Maine at mid-year 2021 — which altogether held $10.3 billion in assets, for 22.07% of all financial institution assets in the state — according to the annual report to the state’s legislature issued this week by the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions. The charter types for the credit unions included 12 state credit unions chartered by Maine, two credit unions chartered by other states, and 42 federal credit unions.

Overall, Maine-chartered credit unions, the report notes, held $3.15 billion in assets, representing a year-over-year increase of 15.2% ($416 million). For more information on Maine credit unions (and financial institutions) click on the link below to the full report.

Annual Report from The Superintendent Of The Bureau Of Financial Institutions To The Legislature


Our credit unions made every effort to spread a splash of holiday magic within their communities in December

January 5, 2022 — From fighting food insecurity to donating gifts, giving was at the heart of it all. Here are a few ways our credit unions chose to brighten the season for those around them last month:

  • In Coastline CU’s Winter 2022 newsletter, the credit union included a helpful article that explains how you can teach your child about saving money.
  • Community CU spread joy in their local communities all month by prepaying for coffee orders, donating gifts to the Stuff the Bus program, and more.
  • On December 15, Connected CU partnered with 107.9 The Mix and a local Subway to deliver gift bags and sandwiches to the Augusta Teen Center.
  • Generous contributions were made by cPort CU employees to Project G.R.A.C.E., a family in the Augusta school system, Greater Portland Family Promise, and the homeless community in the city of Portland.

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Maine Credit Union League Announces the Credit Union Professionals of the Year

August 26, 2021 — At a ceremony on August 20, the Maine Credit Union League announced the credit union professionals of the year. Five honorees were recognized for their unwavering commitment to the credit union movement and for their exceptional service to credit union members and their communities.

“Maine’s credit union network is comprised of thousands of dedicated employees and volunteers who go above and beyond to improve the financial lives of their members and uplift their communities,” said Todd Mason, President/CEO at the Maine Credit Union League. “Their efforts deserve to be recognized. While I wish we could honor everyone for their unique contributions, I am pleased our League is celebrating these five remarkable individuals for their work over the past year. I know each one of them will continue making important contributions to our movement.”

Click to read the entire list.


Maine Financial Institutions Superintendent warns consumers of financial scams related to the anticipated direct payments from the U.S. Government under the CARES Act.

April 6, 2020 – GARDINER – Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions Lloyd LaFountain is warning consumers of an expected surge in scam attempts involving the anticipated direct payment to individuals under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act. The new law, enacted by Congress on March 27, 2020, is intended to provide financial relief to all Americans to help alleviate the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals can expect to receive a direct payment from the federal government in amounts up to $1,200 beginning in the next few weeks.

“Unfortunately, scammers will very likely try to exploit the program to engage in ID theft and to defraud innocent people of their payments. Everyone is reminded to remain vigilant during the current crisis and be wary of any requests for personal information,” remarked LaFountain.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have announced that the distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. The IRS indicates that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. However, some people who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. Details on how to obtain the payments will be posted on the IRS website. The Superintendent urges Mainers to go to www.IRS.gov for their information.

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Medical marijuana industry getting the cold shoulder from financials
Jan. 3, 2016 — Portland — Some caregivers and dispensary owners have found state-chartered banks or credit unions that are more willing to do business in funding medical marijuana financial needs, but the options are limited. READ MORE

Maine Credit Union League Releases Statistics
April 22, 2015 – Aroostook County, Maine – Recently released year-end statistics of Maine’s 60 credit unions, as reported by the Maine Credit Union League, reflect growth in assets, loans and savings in 2014.

 

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