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Articles for May 19, 2022


May 2022 Across the States Marijuana/Cannabis Banking Updates

Courtesy of  Dentons, Ashton, et al., JDSupra 

Momentum Builds in Senate for Passing SAFE Act

Bipartisan support in the Senate grows for passage of the SAFE Banking Act, which would facilitate banking access for cannabis companies. Access to banking is a well-known issue for the cannabis industry and the repeated efforts to obtain the bill’s congressional passage over the past few years remains a hot topic for industry insiders and participants. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) is currently leading a push to include it in a sweeping package intended to help resolve the country’s ongoing supply chain issues.

Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress last week that the US Department of Justice still considers enforcement of federal cannabis policy to be a low priority, maintaining in place the hands-off approach prosecutors have taken toward the industry for more than seven years. Garland made the comments at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

State Updates

  • DE – The Delaware House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize cannabis possession, which now advances to the Senate. Following the example of Vermont, the noncommercial bill would only amend state law by legalizing the possession and gifting of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults 21 and older. As was done in Vermont, lawmakers hope to pass follow-up legislation setting up a commercial cannabis market.
  • KY – Governor Andy Beshear cleared the way for a cannabis research center to open at the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Governor is also reviewing whether he has executive authority to legalize medical cannabis in response to the state Senate’s inaction on the matter.
  • ME – Maine enacted multiple cannabis bills last week without Governor Janet Mills’ signature. Among other things, the legislation authorized home delivery by licensed cannabis retailers and repealed prohibitions on the hiring of applicants with past criminal convictions for certain cannabis offenses.
  • MI – Michigan cannabis regulators axed a plan to allow hemp to be synthetically converted to THC. Based upon the significant public concern for safety and lack of scientific and public health data related to the conversion process, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency withdrew the proposed rulemaking.
  • MS – A total of 10 counties and 17 municipalities have opted out of participating in Mississippi’s new medical cannabis program. The program was officially adopted during the 2022 legislative session. Cannabis businesses will not be permitted to operate in those localities that have opted out of the program.
  • MO – A Missouri House committee approved a GOP-led joint resolution seeking to place recreational cannabis legalization before the voters on the November ballot. The development comes alongside a separate push to enact legalization legislatively.
  • NH – The New Hampshire Senate just rejected two adult-use cannabis legalization bills: one that would have created a state-run monopoly for retail sales and another, more modest plan that would have allowed only small-scale personal use and home cultivation.
  • NJ – On its first day of sales, New Jersey sold nearly $2 million dollars in adult-use cannabis to more than 12,000 customers. Further, despite fears that recreational sales might threaten the supply for medicinal users, state data reveals that the medicinal market remained stable.
  • NY – New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state’s Cannabis Control Board approved 52 adult-use conditional cultivator licenses across the state. Uniquely, regulators are allowing New York’s hemp growers to get involved in supplying the state’s adult-use cannabis industry.
  • NY – Last month, New York state’s Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe authorized stores on its reservation to begin sales of regulated adult-use cannabis. Three shops will offer cannabis and cannabis products for sale in compliance with the Tribe’s Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance. The ordinance states that adults age 21 or older can transport, possess and use up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • OK – Oklahoma is on the verge of legalizing recreational cannabis. Two state ballot questions that aim to legalize recreational cannabis were approved recently by the state’s Supreme Court and may now proceed to the state’s Secretary of State for signature gathering. If proponents gather the necessary number of signatures, the two questions will end up before voters on the November ballot.
  • SC – Last week, a bill to legalize medical cannabis in South Carolina died on the House floor following multiple challenges by Republican senators.
  • SD – South Dakota activists have submitted enough valid signatures to place another recreational cannabis legalization initiative on the state’s November ballot. South Dakota voters already approved  such an initiative in 2020, but it was struck down by the state Supreme Court following a challenge supported by the Governor’s office.

Click here to read the entire article including international developments.


Hotel Block Closes Monday 5/23/2022: 2022 Cannabis Banking Symposium

Join us on June 14-15, 2022, NASCUS is offering an event devoted to the cannabis landscape designed to provide financial institutions with the latest updates on the cannabis industry. With special guest, NCUA Board Member, the Honorable Rodney E. Hood.

The US legal cannabis industry is predicted to top $30 billion in 2022. As a result, the demand for banking services will continue to intensify. Credit unions need to understand the complicated policy questions related to the cannabis industry and every examiner needs to have a working understanding of the state licensed cannabis industry to understand a credit union’s true risk profile in states where marijuana has been legalized.

BECU Reports Robust 2021; Says it Returned $322M in Value to Members

Courtesy of

BECU is reporting robust membership and asset growth during 2021, including returning more than $322 million to members through better rates and fees when compared to banks.


The data was released as part of its 2021 Annual Report  ahead of its sixth annual Member Summit event.

BECU reported it closed out 2021 with more than 1.3 million members (a 4.5% increase), $30.2 billion in assets (a 12.7% increase) and a net worth (capital) ratio of 9.82%. In addition, over 17,600 members joined BECU digitally in 2021, a 21.2% year-over-year growth.

“Since our founding in 1935, BECU has dedicated itself to supporting members during challenging times, and this past year was no exception. We continued to evolve how we serve our members and communities and are proud to see our overall efforts making positive impacts on their financial health,” said Benson Porter, BECU’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our history of steady growth and financial stability enables us to help more members navigate economic uncertainty and save for a rainy day, while also focusing on the long-term strength of our business and giving back to the communities we call home.”

Below, BECU offers a breakout of how it said it has returned value to members.

Return to Members

BECU said it has returned $322.7 million to its members last year through better rates and fewer fees compared to bank averages (an average of $245 per member). One example, the credit union said, is its Reprice Program, which automatically reduces interest rates on qualifying loans and credit cards for those who demonstrated healthy financial habits. More than 48,000 members saved more than $2.2 million through the program, BECU said.

Additionally, the credit union said it helped ease the impacts of the pandemic through more than 2,100 payment relief actions by waiving fees and offering deferred payments for members.

Member Products and Services

In 2021, BECU said it rolled out new and improved product and service offerings designed to enhance the member experience, including:

  • Testing new BECU Envelopes, which helps members direct money toward specific savings goals through various digital “envelopes” within their BECU savings or Money Market accounts.
  • Expanding its loan payment window from 12 to 27 days, simplifying the process for early member loan payments.
  • Increasing financial accessibility for sight-impaired members by launching new braille and raised, embossed credit cards and redesigning its online Money Manager tool.

In addition, BECU said to better support its more than 68,600 business members, it enrolled 38,000 LLCs, corporations and partnerships in its new Business Online Banking platform. The credit union also funded 2,500 loans for a total of $70.6 million through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), helping keep approximately 7,800 jobs on the payroll.

Extending Community Support

To support local communities, BECU donated $5.8 million in cash and in-kind donations last year to nonprofit organizations and partners focused on increasing financial well-being. According to BECU, those key efforts included: 

  • Grants to a variety of local organizations that offer financial education and training, workforce and entrepreneur development, and safe and affordable access to financial services, including SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners), FareStart, Business Impact NW and NW Innovation Resource Center.
  • Black Community Development Project: the second year of a five-year $5 million commitment to support nonprofit partners that improve the Black community’s financial health and well-being.
  • Member-Inspired Giving: granted $535,000 to more than 30 nonprofit organizations and BECU members that dedicated their time to helping others in BECU’s service areas through its annual People Helping People Awards program.

Financial Education

BECU said it also helped educate more than 13,100 people through free financial health programs, including BECU-hosted online webinars and seminars, one-on-one Financial Health Checks and financial reality fairs. In addition, BECU partnered with GreenPath Financial Wellness to provide free financial counseling to over 3,700 members, helping them to enroll in plans to repay more than $5.4 million in debt.


After Leading One CU Upward, Linda White Announces Retirement Plans; Successor Named

Courtesy of

Linda WhiteAfter leading Upward Credit Union for 24 years, President and CEO Linda White has announced plans to retire. The credit union has named a successor. White plans to step down on Sept. 1, with current VP-operations Jason Mertz-Pickett selected to step into the role.

“Over the past 37 years, longer than some of our employees have been alive, I have shepherded Upward Credit Union from $3 million in assets – from being in a damp, leaky office space in a medical building – to the thriving $100 million boutique credit union it is today,” White said.

Upward CU Board Chair Annie Miller noted that during her career White has not just led the credit union but has served on numerous committees with the California Credit Union League, CUNA, CUNA Mutual, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), and founding board member for the Healthcare Credit Union Association (HCUA). White is also a founding member of the Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance, where she will serve as executive director after her post ends at Upward.

White graduated from Western CUNA Management School in 1990, received the Distinguished Service Award along with the Grassroots Leader of the Year and the Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Award in 2012 and 2018, respectively, from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, and became a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) in 2019.

In the People Helping People Business

“We’re in the people helping people business here at Upward, and I’m excited for the future of our credit union and thank the board for appointing me as the new CEO,” Mertz-Pricket said. “Under Linda’s direction, we have cultivated such a talented and dedicated team that connect, engage and help our members ‘soar Upward.’ My promise is that we will continue to put our members first, work as a team, and be an advocate for change.”

Prior to joining Upward, Mertz-Prickett spent 17 years with other credit unions in the bay area, working his way from a member service representative to C-Suite leader. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and an MBA from Western Governors University, in addition to many other industry certifications that recognize his accomplishments.



Articles for May 13, 2022

  • Polish American Credit Union Support Fund Update
  • New Mexico’s Sandia Area Federal Credit Union Donates Money to Help Residents Impacted by Wildfires
  • Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Launches Effort to Raise $1M to Establish Black-Led Credit Union and CUNA Mutual Announces Donation Match
  • VyStar Credit Union, BCU and Reseda Group (MSUFCU) Invest in AKUVO


Polish American Credit Union Support Fund: a Path to Economic Stability For Millions of Ukrainian Refugees in Poland Update

PictureThe war continues next door, much too close. As of the end of April, over 3 million Ukrainian refugees are here with us in Poland. In cities such as Warsaw, Krakow and Lublin, city populations have increased by 20%.

After the Russian withdrawal from Kiev, numbers of refugees arriving decreased. But as we saw the revelations of killing of civilians and renewed attacks on Eastern Ukraine, new waves arrive. Many arrive traumatized after losing everything including family members. Most are women with children. Husbands, fathers and sons remain in Ukraine to fight the invaders.

Polish credit unions will be at the center of this conflict for a while. We have been warned of donor exhaustion and refugee fatigue. But our hearts are big and we all commit to welcoming and hosting refugees from Ukraine into our homes and into our hearts. These people are now part of our community. They fight in Ukraine for all our freedom.

​Grants from the Polish American Credit Union Support fund supports credit unions helping refugees move into stable housing. This family from Mariupol lost their husband and father in the fighting. Credit union Ziemi Rybnickiej, in the south of Poland, assisted them in renting a flat and acquiring a washing machine.
– Rafal Matsuiak, President of NACSCU

Click here to read the full report


Sandia Area Federal Credit Union Donates Money to Help Residents Impacted by Wildfires
Courtesy of Matt Hollinshead, RioRancho Observer

Sandia Area Federal Credit Union donated $5,000 toward wildfire relief efforts and pledged to matching fundraising campaign donations of up to $15,000 to support people impacted by wildfires across New Mexico.

The $5,000 donation went to World Central Kitchen, an organization partnering with local restaurants in affected communities to serve fresh meals to evacuees and first responders battling the fires.

“Many of our members live and work in these devastated communities,” Paula Peknik, president and CEO of Sandia Area Federal Credit Union, said in a press release. “This immediate donation is already helping mitigate the impacts on these communities, and we have more efforts underway to continue that support.”

Those extra efforts include collecting and matching donations on behalf of the All Together New Mexico Fund, which uses grants to help pay for food, water, emergency shelter and medical support.

Sandia Area will match up to $15,000 in donations made with the credit union.

To help the cause, you can donate to any Sandia Area Federal Credit Union location or call 505-292-6343.


Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Launches Effort to Raise $1M to Establish Black-Led Credit Union and CUNA Mutual Announces Donation Match
Courtesy of

The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation said it has launched an effort to raise $1 million in capital from the credit union community to support the establishment of Village Financial Credit Union, a Black-led de novo credit union.

Village Financial
CUNA Mutual Group recently announced it will be offering a donation match – dollar for dollar up to $250,000 – for individuals and credit unions who donate now through June 30, 2022.

“CUNA Mutual Group believes brighter financial futures should be accessible to everyone. As a result, we are proud to provide this support and hope this match opportunity encourages those in our movement who have not provided a donation to do so now,” said Gerry Singleton, vice president of credit union system relations. “Supporting this effort aligns with who CUNA Mutual Group is an organization and ties directly to our mission of building economic empowerment and financial security for everyone.”

About ABEP

The Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP), a nonprofit organization created to establish a Black-led credit union to address systemic financial challenges impacting Minneapolis residents, particularly people of color, is currently raising capital for post-opening operating expenses for Village Financial Credit Union.

“Establishing the only Black-led, cooperative credit union in Minnesota is an opportunity to effect positive change, empower growth and economic stability, while directly addressing the core cause of systemic poverty on a variety of levels,” said Debra Hurston, executive director Association for Black Economic Power. “Thank you to CUNA Mutual Group for this support. We are thrilled to be a part of the cooperative movement and are excited to see this initiative get another step closer to fruition.”

Shining a ‘Light’

Added Mark Cummins, president of the Minnesota CU Network and Minnesota CU Foundation, “Credit union history and principles are rooted in serving the underserved and cooperation among cooperatives. The credit union movement’s support will not only help the community members of Minneapolis, but it will also help to shine a light on how our cooperative model can be a solution for change across the country.”

For additional info: visit


VyStar Credit Union, BCU and Reseda Group, (a wholly-owned CUSO of MSU Federal Credit Union) Invest in AKuvo
Courtesy of FinExtra/Akuvo

AKUVO, a technology-based organization specializing in credit risk and delinquency management, has announced a round of new funding from three credit unions.

The investments by VyStar Credit Union, BCU and Reseda Group, a wholly-owned CUSO of MSU Federal Credit Union, will be used to further develop Aperture, the company’s innovative collection and credit risk platform.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., the $12 billion VyStar Credit Union is one of the 15 largest credit unions in the country. VyStar regularly seeks out fintech organizations that can provide best-in-class products and services to its members, as well as investment opportunities for the cooperative.

“VyStar works to improve the lives of our members and the communities we serve,” said Eric Weatherly, SVP, Loan Administration at VyStar Credit Union. “Investing in AKUVO will allow us to be a greater force for change for our members and the credit union community.”

The $5.5 billion BCU is headquartered in Vernon Hills, Ill., in the greater Chicago area. This fast-growing credit union has a strong focus on helping members achieve sustainable financial wellbeing.

“Our goal is to empower members to discover financial freedom, and I am optimistic AKUVO’s data science solutions will help us accelerate our ability to do just that,” comments, Jim Block, EVP, COO at BCU. “We anticipate rapid growth over the next decade, and the Aperture platform has the promise to scale with our membership.”

Reseda Group, CUSO of the $6.8 billion MSUFCU, completed its second round of AKUVO funding with this new investment. Headquartered in East Lansing, Mich., the CUSO first invested in AKUVO in January 2022 while MSUFCU also signed on to use Aperture.

“AKUVO’s Aperture platform will change the way we provide members with individual credit solutions that maximize recoveries. Aperture’s data-based decisioning also ensures we meet regulatory and legal requirements,” said Jim Hunsanger, Chief Risk Officer for MSUFCU and its CUSO, Reseda Group. “We’re excited to be an AKUVO client and early investor.”

All three credit unions will have a representative on AKUVO’s Advisory and Product Boards as a result of their investment position.


Articles for May 6, 2022

  • In Georgia, Robins Financial Credit Union Eliminates NSF fees, Continues No-fee Overdraft Protection Transfer Service
  • Four Minnesota CUs Launch Commercial Lending CUSO
  • People Helping People: Massachusetts Own Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s “We Share A Common Thread” Foundation Raises Over $110,000
  • People Helping People: Iowa’s Ascentra Credit Union Foundation Contributes $50,000 Towards River Bend Food Bank Facility Expansion

In Georgia, Robins Financial Credit Union Eliminates NSF fees, Continues No-fee Overdraft Protection Transfer Service
We have exciting news to share: We are eliminating NSF fees!

Beginning May 1st, we will no longer charge Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees for all members. Going forward, if a member has insufficient funds, they will no longer be charged an NSF fee for the returned item.

We will also continue to offer no-fee Overdraft Protection Transfer service. Members with a checking account can sign up for overdraft protection by linking their checking account to a savings account or even a Visa® credit card. If sufficient funds are not available in the checking account when a qualifying transaction is processed, funds are then transferred from the linked account at no cost to the member.

Additionally, members who previously used the NSF e-Alert have been converted to the low balance alert. This new alert will let you know when your account balance drops below $10, rather than alerting you when your account is already negative. For more information or to update this alert, please see our Digital Banking Guide.

Eliminating NSF fees is part of our ongoing commitment to offering low- or no-fee services. This also reflects our commitment to living out our mission to be Member Focused, Financial Partners, and Community Proud.


Four Minnesota CUs Launch Commercial Lending CUSO
The goal of United Financials Capital is to support commercial lending collaboration and opportunities for CUs throughout the Upper Midwest.

Courtesy of Natasha Chilingerian, Credit Union Times

thumbnail_United FinancialsFour Minnesota-based credit unions have launched a new CUSO that will enable numerous credit unions to collaborate on lending opportunities for public and private commercial and infrastructure projects in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, the new CUSO announced Tuesday.

The four founding credit union members of the new CUSO, named United Financials Capital (UFC), are:

The new CUSO’s leadership includes Michael Dalglish as CEO and founder, and Dave Boden, president/CEO of Hiway, as board chair.

“Speaking on behalf of the founding credit union CEOs, we’re excited to launch United Financials Capital, moving beyond ideas and discussions to collaborative action,” Boden stated. “We’re here to bring the power of credit union values and the combined resources of our organizations to the commercial lending marketplace. We believe this is just a starting point: Our mission, and obligation, is to serve and support Minnesota credit unions of all sizes. We deeply believe we are all stronger if we work together.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Dalglish brings a professional background in the banking industry and is currently an owner of Case Financial, a provider of banking equipment and maintenance services to financial institutions in the Upper Midwest; founder of the Minnesota non-profit United Financials Making a Difference; and an ambassador for NCR Corporation.

A few of UFC’s objectives are to reduce costs, increase revenue and create new opportunities for credit unions in the commercial lending space, according to the announcement.

Read the entire article here.

Massachusetts Own Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s “We Share A Common Thread” Foundation Raises Over $110,000

Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union held its twelfth annual We Share A Common Thread Foundation Fundraiser on Wednesday, March 30, at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, raising over $110,000 for local non-profit organizations. The We Share A Common Thread Foundation was established in 2011, with a mission to support people in the community by assisting with food, shelter, clothing, health, and education.

This was the first time since the start of the pandemic that the event was held in person, and more than 300 Jeanne D’Arc employees, business partners, members, and supporters gathered to attend the Fundraiser. Attendees took chances on raffle baskets, bid on silent auction items, and listened to live music all while helping those in need.

This was the Foundation’s largest fundraiser yet, raising over $110,000 which will be distributed to 141 non-profits in 24 different cities in the Merrimack Valley area. To see a list of organizations who will benefit from the We Share A Common Thread Foundation Fundraiser visit

The night would not have been possible without the generous donors and sponsors including Fiserv, Inc., a global provider of financial service technology, as the Common Thread Sponsor, the highest level of sponsorship.

“It was great to see everyone back together, having fun and raising money to support so many worthy causes in our area,” said Mark S. Cochran, President and Chief Executive Officer at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union.


Ascentra Credit Union Foundation Contributes $50,000 Towards River Bend Food Bank Facility Expansion

In conjunction with Pay It Forward Day on April 28, 2022, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation (ACUF), the philanthropic arm of Ascentra Credit Union has contributed $50,000 towards the expansion of the River Bend Food Bank’s facilities.

“Pay It Forward is a movement that has significant meaning to the members and staff of Ascentra Credit Union”, said Jennifer Naeve, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Ascentra Credit Union. “Not only is it a part of the credit union philosophy, but our past leaders who are so dear to us have left us with messages to “listen, care, do what’s right” and to “be the light,” and it is our responsibility as a part of the communities we serve to uphold a “pay it forward” mentality to make a difference.”

In 2021, food insecurity in the food bank’s 23-county, bi-state regions grew to more than 115,000 people, including more than 35,000 children. This means that 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 5 children are missing meals. The need for food has increased more than 50% during the pandemic, which is the largest increase in food insecurity since the 2008 recession. As a result, the River Bend Food Bank distributed nearly 22.5 million meals across their service area last year.
“Food insecurity is a serious need in our community,” said Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union. “We applaud the efforts that the team at River Bend Food Bank are making to meet the growing need of food insecure people in our communities and are proud to stand behind their mission to end hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.”

  Read more here.

Articles for April 29, 2022

  • Cannabis Banking Activities Across the Country: CT’s Licensing Lottery, IL Delays, MI Universities to Study Cannabis, Marijuana Markets in GA and CA, U.S. DOT Proposals, and more
  • Wisconsin-based $2.7-billion CoVantage Credit Union has agreed to purchase the $277-million LincolnWay Community Bank
  • Viktoria Earle Selected as President and Chief Executive Officer of CommonWealth Central Credit Union in California
  • Nevada’s WestStar Credit Union CEO Announces Retirement
  • Connecticut Credit Unions have Raised $100,809 for the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI) Ukraine Fund


Cannabis Banking Activities Across the Country: CT’s Licensing Lottery, IL Delays, MI Universities to Study Cannabis, Marijuana Markets in GA and CA, U.S. DOT Proposals, and more

Courtesy of McGuireWoods “In the Weeds: Connecticut’s Licensing Lottery, Illinois’ Delays, Michigan Universities to Study Cannabis”

Connecticut Accepts Unlimited Applications Through Cannabis License Lottery

In February 2022, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) started accepting applications for certain cannabis licenses for a period of 90 days. The cannabis licenses will be awarded through a lottery process in which six general retail licenses and six social equity licenses initially will be available. Social equity applicants must provide proof of income and residency, among other requirements, and will be selected outside the lottery process by DCP. Additionally, DCP cannot award a license to an applicant that already has two or more licenses in the same license category (e.g., dispensaries, retailers and hybrid retailers are in the same category).

There is no cap on the number of applications an applicant can submit; therefore, one applicant could submit hundreds of applications for the same license type to increase its chances in the lottery system. Applicants were instructed to take their time completing submissions because there is no benefit to submitting early. As of late February, DCP had already received 143 applications, and officials expect an influx of applications in days leading up to the deadline.

General lottery application fees range from $250-$1,000, depending on the license category. Information on accessing applications is available on the DCP website, and all applications must be completed through the online portal. More information about the lottery process is available at

Illinois Cannabis License Delays Prevent Winners From Opening Shop

Illinois cannabis license winners have been in a holding pattern, unable to open their businesses for over seven months. Illinois awarded 185 licenses through its marijuana license lottery system; however, COVID-19 and a legal battle over the state’s social equity program have caused major delays. Illinois assured applicants it would prioritize social equity applicants, but no new license holders have been allowed to open their businesses in Illinois.

According to news articles, there has been no minority representation in Illinois’ cannabis industry and the licensing delays are predominantly affecting minorities. There is concern that the entrepreneurs awarded dispensary licenses will not be able to afford to open when licenses are released. This process has halted not only marijuana dispensaries but also marijuana growers. More information on the Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Program and Social Equity Justice Involved Lottery is available online.

Michigan to Allow Universities to Grow, Process and Study Cannabis

The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently created a new license type that allows universities to procure, grow, process and study marijuana and marijuana products. The educational research license is available to any organization accredited by the Higher Learning Commission that obtains and provides proof of registration by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and attests that it will not operate in any municipality that prohibits marijuana establishments or marijuana educational licenses.

Each applicant must provide a research plan, which, among other requirements, must include:

  • A written plan for documenting all individuals who will have access to the location and marijuana or marijuana products.
  • A description of the research that will be conducted.
  • A written plan to ensure secure delivery and receipt of marijuana at the licensed location.
  • A written plan to ensure the safe storage of marijuana at the licensed location.
  • A written plan for the tracking of marijuana quantities at the licensed location.
  • A written plan for the disposal of marijuana after research.

The license is valid for one year and there is no fee for the application or license. There is speculation that universities may be hesitant to seek licenses out of concern they may jeopardize their federal funding, given that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. More information about the March 7, 2022, Rule Modifications is available online.

A New Day for Georgia Cannabis?

Although medical-use cannabis has been legal in Georgia since 2015 (as low-THC oil), the state has yet to implement commercial sales of such products. Consequently, registered patients in the state have been unable to actually buy the products needed to treat their conditions.

Georgia’s medical marijuana board formally selected six companies to receive licenses to grow, sell and distribute medical marijuana, but several companies who were not selected subsequently filed administrative protests and lawsuits, causing years of delay. Aiming to resolve this unfortunate stall in the process, in March 2022, the state House and Senate passed separate measures containing various paths forward for issuing licenses for medical cannabis businesses. Next, each chamber will consider the other’s bill, and the two must agree to move forward with one version during the current legislative session.

Read the Entire Article Here

Don’t Miss Out: 2022 Cannabis Banking Symposium

Join us on June 14-15, 2022, NASCUS is offering an event devoted to the cannabis landscape designed to provide financial institutions with the latest updates on the cannabis industry. With special guest, NCUA Board Member, the Honorable Rodney E. Hood.

The US legal cannabis industry is predicted to top $30 billion in 2022. As a result, the demand for banking services will continue to intensify. Credit unions need to understand the complicated policy questions related to the cannabis industry and every examiner needs to have a working understanding of the state licensed cannabis industry to understand a credit union’s true risk profile in states where marijuana has been legalized.


Wisconsin-based $2.7-billion CoVantage Credit Union has agreed to purchase the $277-million LincolnWay Community Bank
Courtesy of

The $2.7-billion CoVantage Credit Union has agreed to purchase the $277-million LincolnWay Community Bank, nearly 300 miles south in New Lennox, Ill. The buy marks the seventh CU purchase of a bank in 2022.


LincolnWay Community Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LWCBancorp, Inc.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both organizations but is awaiting bank shareholder and regulatory approvals. Plans are being made to combine the staff, CoVantage stated.

“We are pleased to have found a partner whose culture and values are well aligned with CoVantage,” said CoVantage CEO Charlie Zanayed. “LincolnWay Community has focused on making exceptional service a priority for their personal and business banking customers like we do for those we serve at CoVantage.”

As have many credit unions that have purchased banks in the past, a focus of the deal with LincolnWay is commercial lending expertise.

‘Size and Scale’ Cited

“They are extraordinarily successful commercial lenders, particularly in commercial development and commercial real estate lending,” said Zanayed. “CoVantage is also a highly successful commercial lender and is one of only a few credit unions nationally that has been serving commercial members the entire time we’ve been in business, which for CoVantage Credit Union is going on 70 years. By partnering with LincolnWay Community businesses, we can deliver the size and scale that is needed to survive and thrive today.

Read More Here


Viktoria Earle Selected as President and Chief Executive Officer of CommonWealth Central Credit Union

Viktoria EarleCommonWealth Central Credit Union’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Viktoria Earle as their next President and CEO. The current CEO, Craig Weber announced his plans to retire and following his announcement, the Board began their search for the Credit Union’s next CEO. Viktoria Earle, CommonWealth’s current Chief Financial Officer was selected from a nationwide pool of candidates and will transition into her new role in May of 2022.

“After an extensive search, we are excited that the credit union’s new CEO came from within. Viktoria’s depth and breadth of experience will enable her to provide strategic direction and leadership to continue moving our credit union forward. We are excited to begin this journey and offer our support as she transitions into her new role,” said Michael F. Filice, Jr., CommonWealth’s Board Chair.

In addition to her nine years of service at CommonWealth as the Credit Union’s Chief Financial Officer, Viktoria brings her extensive experience with multi-billion dollar financial institutions. Her responsibilities covered a broad spectrum of areas including executive leadership, strategic positioning, tactical planning, product development, business partner building, Board relations and people engagement and development.

When asked about her new position, Viktoria Earle said “It is an honor to be named the next President and CEO of CommonWealth. I appreciate the confidence the Board of Directors has placed in me to lead the Credit Union. CWCCU is passionate about making a difference in the lives of our members and communities, and I look forward to continuing this mission.”

Craig Weber, who started his career at CommonWealth more than 27 years ago said, “As I bid a fond farewell to CommonWealth, a place I’ve called home for so long, I would like to thank you for the privilege of serving you. I’m confident in CommonWealth’s bright future under Viktoria’s leadership.”


WestStar Credit Union CEO Announces Retirement

WestStar Credit Union, a Las Vegas based credit union, announced that Rick Schmidt, the credit union’s President and CEO, has decided to retire effective January 2, 2023. The credit union is currently starting the search process for a new CEO by partnering with Humanidei + O’Rourke.

Schmidt has served in his current role since April 2010. Prior to coming to WestStar, he had over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 28 years with credit unions.

During Mr. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO, he played a critical role in helping the credit union survive the great Recession, thrive in the years in between, and helped WestStar’s unique membership base endure through the pandemic. In the process, he served in various roles within the credit union industry such as Chairman of the Nevada Credit Union League Board of Directors, Chair of the Credit Union Advisory Council for the CFPB, and received the Nevada PAC Advocate of the Year award on two different occasions, as well as the Distinguished Service Award from the Nevada Credit Union League.

“I know it wasn’t an easy decision,” says Craig Hawkins, Board Chairman of WestStar Credit Union about Schmidt. “WestStar Credit Union has been his pride and joy…the new CEO will be filling some big shoes”

WestStar Credit Union serves 21,000 members in the state of Nevada and currently has $260M in assets.


Connecticut Credit Unions have Raised $100,809 for the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI) Ukraine Fund
Courtesy of Julie Martin Banks at CT News Junkie

Nearly 30 Connecticut credit unions have donated more than $54,000 in an effort to help those impacted by the conflict, with a total of $100,809 raised so far for the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI) Ukraine Fund, according to Bruce Adams, President & CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut (CULCT). The funds will be used to directly support impacted Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans both in Connecticut and overseas.

CULCT will also provide a variety of assistance – such as counseling and financial resources – to refugees that may end up in Connecticut, organizers said.

According to a CULCT document outlining the drive, organizers are encouraging businesses, schools, and individuals to join in supporting the fund. Donations will go to the humanitarian assistance fund at the Ukrainian Self Reliance Credit Union, other organizations that assist impacted CT residents and refugees, civic and faith-based organizations serving local Ukrainian communities, and initiatives endorsed by the state of Connecticut.

American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $10,116 on behalf of the credit union and its employees. The Credit Union Building Financial Independence, CULCT’s charitable foundation, gave its own $10,000 donation, according to Adams, while donations from individuals is at $36,500.

In addition to possibly using its own funds to match certain donations or fundraising initiatives, the foundation may decide to replenish the Small Credit Union Fund to help credit unions prepare to defend against possible cyberattacks, organizations said.

Those who are interested in giving to the Fund can visit or send a check made out to: CUBFI, 1064 East Main St., Ste. 201, Meriden, CT 06450.

Related Reading: Credit unions continue to raise funds for Ukraine
Credit union system sends donations and other aid to Eastern Europe.


Articles for April 22, 2022

  • Georgia’s Robins Financial CU Latest to Cross $4B Threshold — At Least 4 Other Credit Unions Reach $4B in Assets so Far This Year
  • Louisiana Credit Union League Selects Matt Rookard as the Next President/CEO
  • Florida VyStar Announces Agreement to Merge With First Coast Federal Credit Union
  • Ohio’s Wright-Patt Credit Union Reduces Fees to Provide Enhanced Value for Members


Robins Financial CU Latest to Cross $4 Billion Threshold
At least four other credit unions reach $4 billion in assets so far this year.

Courtesy of  Michael Ogden, Credit Union Times

HomeBig things are happening for a credit union in a small town in central Georgia. Robins Financial Credit Union, located in Warner Robins, Ga., became the latest credit union to reach $4 billion in assets this year.

In a statement released by the credit union Wednesday, the asset milestone was reached as of March 31.

“Reaching the $4 billion milestone is a testament to our mission to be Member Focused, Financial Partners, Community Proud,” Christina O’Brien, president/CEO of Robins Financial, said. “This is a tremendous accomplishment, especially considering that we were able to grow our assets by $1 billion in just under two years. This growth is a direct result of our phenomenal staff and everything they do to support our credit union, and our members and their continued trust in us as their financial partner.”

Over its 68-year history, Robins Financial has grown its membership to nearly 250,000 members as it has served 45 counties in the Peach State. In 2016 the credit union converted to a state charter, which potentially helped accelerate its growth rate.

Earlier in April, the Philadelphia-based American Heritage Credit Union surpassed the $4 billion asset threshold after doubling its asset size in slightly more than four years.

According to an analysis by CU Times, assets grew 2.3% among all credit unions from Oct. 31, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022. If that growth rate held for Dec. 31 to March 31, three other credit unions easily surpassed $4 billion by March 31: Truestone Financial Credit Union of Plymouth, Minn. ($3.98 billion in assets, 198,711 members), Jovia Financial Federal Credit Union of Westbury, N.Y. ($3.96 billion in assets, 206,572 members) and University Federal Credit Union of Austin, Texas ($3.95 billion in assets, 346,455 members).

Last year, 36 credit unions surpassed $1 billion in assets, 13 surpassed $4 billion and four surpassed $10 billion.


Louisiana Credit Union League Selects Matt Rookard as the Next President/CEO
Courtesy of CUNA News

LCULApril 13, 2022 — The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) Board of Directors has selected Matt Rookard as their next President and CEO. Rookard joins LCUL following the departure of Bob Gallman, who retired in March after serving more than forty years in the movement.

Rookard brings extensive experience working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors throughout the state, most recently serving as President/CEO of the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority. Prior to this role, he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) and Project Manager at Louisiana Economic Development.

“The League Board believes Matt is very much aligned with our collective values, culture, and shared vision for the organization. We are confident he will provide the strategic leadership, advocacy and innovative support necessary to advance Louisiana credit unions,” said Steve Webb, Vice Chair of the LCUL’s Board of Directors and President/CEO of Neighbors FCU in Baton Rouge. “Working together, we look forward to strengthening and expanding our footprint throughout Louisiana.”

Rookard earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Louisiana Tech University and is a graduate of University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (EDI). Professional accolades include establishing the Bayou Business Recovery Grant Program, a $500,000 grant fund for small businesses in Terrebonne Parish, and the creation of the Bayou Business Community Housing initiative which donated 45 travel trailers to families in south Louisiana after Hurricane Ida. His accomplishments have resulted in 44 announced projects representing $3.4 billion in capital investments and over 10,000 direct jobs.

Read More Here


VyStar Announces Agreement to Merge With First Coast Federal Credit Union

VyStar Credit UnionApril 11, 2022 — VyStar Credit Union announced today it has signed a Merger Agreement with First Coast Federal Credit Union, a federally chartered credit union headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

“As a growing credit union, VyStar continues to look for strategic partnerships that strengthen our ability to serve more members and support the places we call home,” said VyStar President/CEO Brian Wolfburg. “First Coast Federal Credit Union has a long history of exceptional service in Northeast Florida, and we look forward to honoring their legacy by welcoming their employees and members to our organization.”

VyStar, which has more than 800,000 members and over $12 billion in assets, will remain the 14th-largest credit union in the country by asset size. The transaction is expected to close later this year and is subject to standard closing conditions as well as First Coast member vote and regulatory agency approvals.

First Coast Federal Credit Union has served Northeast Florida residents since 1935 and has about 1,700 members and $11.2 million in assets. Members of the credit union consist of employees of Select Employee Groups (SEGs) and their family members. First Coast Federal Credit Union has one branch located in Jacksonville, Florida. All First Coast Federal Credit Union employees will be offered employment opportunities at VyStar.

“After careful consideration, First Coast Federal Credit Union has chosen to merge with VyStar Credit Union because of the strong commitment and presence VyStar has on Florida’s First Coast community,” said Richard A. Tipping, Jr, Director and Supervisory Committee Chairman of First Coast Federal Credit Union. “FCFCU’s merger with VyStar will provide FCFCU members with a wide array of products and services, including innovative electronic banking services and access to a growing network of more than 60 branches and hundreds of ATMs located throughout the state of Florida and the Southeastern United States. FCFCU could not have found a better merger partner to serve its members than VyStar.”


Wright-Patt Credit Union Reduces Fees to Provide Enhanced Value for Members

Wright-Patt Credit Union, Inc LogoApril 8, 2022 — Wright-Patt Credit Union recently announced the credit union is reducing and eliminating several fees to provide enhanced value for their members. As prices for life’s everyday essentials continue to rise, Wright-Patt Credit Union is focused on helping members keep more of their hard-earned money and improve their Financial Flexibility and Freedom.

“Since our founding in 1932, Wright-Patt Credit Union has always put the needs of our members first,” said Tim Mislansky, Wright-Patt Credit Union President and CEO. “As we celebrate 90 years of helping people, we believe lowering these fees will reduce financial stress and anxiety for our members when they carry low balances on their checking accounts, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money every time an unfortunate overdraft occurs.”

Effective April 6, 2022, fees reduced and eliminated by Wright-Patt Credit Union include:

Personal Account Fees — previously $19, now $9.

  • Non-Sufficient Fund (NSF) fee
  • Courtesy Pay Overdraft fee
  • Debit Card Coverage Overdraft fee

Business Account Fees — previously $19, now $9.

  • Overdraft fee
  • Non-Sufficient Fund (NSF) fee

Stop Payment Fee — previously $25, now $9.

Non-WPCU Owned ATM Fee — previously $0.60 per transaction, now eliminated. (This does not include the surcharge an ATM owner may charge for use of their machine.)

“Reducing these fees reflects Wright-Patt Credit Union’s promise to put our members first, not profits,” explained Mislansky. “We will continue to evaluate our fee structures and practices because we’re always looking for ways to provide even more relief and peace of mind for our members.”


Articles for April 15, 2022

  • NFT (non-fungible token) Vending Machine in New York
  • Michigan’s Third Largest Credit Union Appoints New CEO
  • Credit Union Miracle Day, presented a $323,000 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • In 2021, Louisiana Credit Union Members Received $169 Million in Benefits


NFT (non-fungible token) Vending Machine in New York
Courtesy of Jennifer A. Kingson, Axios

April 13, 2022 — Vending machines dispense all sorts of offbeat things these days — like hamburgers and pizza — and now it’s time to add non-fungible tokens to the list.

Why it matters: While most people would be hard-pressed to define what an NFT is, the tokens were all the rage at SXSW this year, and their arrival in an ATM in New York City’s Financial District may mean NFT-dispensing machines could grow as ubiquitous as cryptocurrency ATMs.

What they are: NFTs are “unique digital assets — often works of art, game characters and other creative products — that are recorded on a blockchain, or persistent digital ledger,” writes Axios tech editor Peter Allen Clark.

  • “Think of them as digital collectibles.”

How it works: The ATM at 29 John St. in lower Manhattan was put there by Neon, which calls itself “a marketplace and gallery built on the Solana blockchain.” Neon sells unique digital pieces of art, in familiar forms like Baby Yoda.

  • “The NFT ATM works very similarly to traditional ATMs,” according toCointelegraph. “You can purchase NFTs through the machine with your credit or debit card, and it will dispense boxes that contain unique codes that you can redeem through Neon’s platform.”
  • “Much like Easter egg capsules, buyers will not know what NFT they’re getting until they redeem it.”
  • Prices range from $5.99 to $420.69 (a tongue-in-cheek number derived from 420 — a marijuana reference — and a sex joke).
  • Once a QR code inside the box is scanned, “the user can see their new piece of art on any smartphone, laptop or tablet,” Reuters says.

“As an NFT collector, over time, one of the things you love is the randomness of, ‘Which one are you going to get?'” Kyle Zappitell, CEO of Neon, said in an interview with Reuters.

  • The target customer is “the crypto curious, the people who tried to buy cryptocurrency or they were interested in buying an NFT, but they just hit too many barriers.”

What’s next: Neon plans to add more artists to its platform and open more NFT ATMs in different cities, Jordan Birnholtz, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Neon, tells Cointelegraph, a news outlet that covers fintech, blockchain and the future of money.

  • “NFTs are going to let a variety of visual, multimedia and performing artists create new ways to build relationships with and monetize their audience,” Birnholtz told the publication.

 Read The Article in its Entirety Here


Michigan’s Third Largest Credit Union Appoints New CEO
Ryan Goldberg takes over the helm at DFCU Financial following the retirement of Mark Shobe.
Courtesy of Credit Union Times

Former longtime bank executive Ryan Goldberg has been appointed president/CEO of DFCU Financial, the Dearborn, Michigan-based financial cooperative said this week.

He succeeds Mark Shobe, who retired last month after 22 years of service at Michigan’s third largest credit union.

During Shobe’s CEO tenure, DFCU Financial grew assets and members from $66.3 million and 15,123 members at the end of 2000 to $6.4 billion in assets and 232,424 members at the end of 2021, according to NCUA Call Reports.

Read More Here


Credit Union Miracle Day, presented a $323,000 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

April 4, 2022 — Credit Union Miracle Day, presented a $323,000 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN), yesterday at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Of the total donated to CMN Hospitals, $65,748 was raised by runners, their families and friends. Since credit unions became the title sponsors in 2002, over $10.2 million has been donated to CMNHs nationwide.

The race returned to April for an in-person run for the first time since 2019 as COVID restrictions cancelled the Run in 2020 and delayed an in-person event to September in 2021.

“We are thrilled to be “back to the blossoms” and celebrating our 20th year as the title sponsors of the Run,” said John Bratsakis, chair of Credit Union Miracle Day. “For the past 20 years, credit unions have been working together to make a significant impact in our communities and in the lives of children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The funds raised directly benefit CMN Hospitals in local communities, helping to fund research, treatment, and medical equipment.”

The annual Capitol Hill Competition, sponsored by Congressional FCU and United States Senate FCU, is the race within the larger Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. House and Senate offices form teams to compete for the Capitol Hill Cup. The team with the best race time wins the cup to display in its office. This year there were 61 teams with over 500 staffers competing (team results will be announced at a later date).

Read More Here


In 2021, Louisiana Credit Union Members Received $169 Million in Benefits
Courtesy of

Credit unions across Louisiana provide citizens the best value for personal financial services according to latest economics and statistic reports, delivering an estimated $169 million in benefits among 1.3 million members in the state during 2021. Louisiana Graphic

Details of the Louisiana Membership Benefits Report for year-end 2021 include credit unions’ lower average interest rates on new and used car loans, unsecured loans, and credit card balances, higher savings yields on deposit accounts, and lower fees than banks.

Among the not-for-profit cooperatives, a 60-month new auto car loan rate averaged 3.01% at a Louisiana credit union, compared to 5.03% at a bank. Those terms mean a borrower would save about $273 in interest annually when financing a $25,000 new vehicle through a credit union.

‘Ready to Move Forward’

“Consumers are ready to move forward, weighing opportunities to build for the future or reduce the cost of home and auto purchases. Our collaborative structure allows credit unions to help consumers with products and services that are driven by need rather than profit,” said Lacey Weaver, LCUL senior vice president. “Over the past two years, credit unions have fostered a new level of trust with members. As a result, credit unions have seen a membership growth of 3.8% in 2021.”

In addition to making an impact on the state economy, the impact report reaffirms credit unions’ efforts to empower their members by helping them make wise financial decisions. Approximately 79% of Louisiana credit unions offer financial counseling with 700 certified counselors throughout the state.


Articles for April 8, 2022

  • Carol Marx Named Hawaii Credit Union League President/CEO
  • Credit Union CEO Appears with Vice President Harris
  • Connecticut’s Mutual Security Credit Union Donates $7,500 in Honor of Black History Month
  • Florida and Georgia Credit Union Members Receive Millions in Benefits During 2021

Carol Marx Named Hawaii Credit Union League President/CEO

Marx brings over 30 years of financial services industry experience to Hawaii’s credit union movement.

Carol Marx259 CopyThe Board of Directors of Hawaii Credit Union League is pleased to announce the hiring of Carol Marx as President/CEO of the state’s credit union trade association. She takes over the leadership position vacated by the retirement of former President/CEO Dennis Tanimoto.

Carol Marx achieved successive leadership positions in Hawaii’s financial services industry. She most recently worked as Sr. Vice President, Retail Sales Manager for the Mortgage Banking Division at Bank of Hawaii. Marx previously worked at Bank of America (Inter-Island Home Loans, Branch Manager and Joint Venture Manager), First Hawaiian Bank (VP, Mortgage Banking Department Manager) and Pioneer Federal Savings Bank (VP, Marketing & Public Relations; Branch Manager).

“The credit unions of Hawaii provide their members with excellent services and execute their missions to serve those in their charter, some for over 80 years now. I will move forward with the Hawaii Credit Union League’s staff and Board of Directors to continue to support the members of this Trade Association, representing Hawaii.”

Carol Marx earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has served in many community leadership positions including President for Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii, and Soroptimists International of Waikiki Inc.

“The Hawaii Credit Union League looks forward to an exciting new era under the leadership of Carol Marx,” said Hawaii Credit Union League Board Chairman Clayton Fuchigami. “We are very fortunate to have secured someone with an extensive background in financial services, management, and volunteerism. In her role, she will provide the strategic leadership, advocacy, and support necessary to rally our credit unions to unified success.”


Credit Union CEO Appears with Vice President Harris
Screen Shot 2022-04-03 at 8.24.59 PM

Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union and HOPE Enterprise Corp. joined Vice President Kamala Harris at an event in Greenville, Miss., to provide remarks on access to capital for small businesses in the Deep South,

The event was designed to highlight the Biden administration’s in small businesses and communities, including about $27 billion in support for  support small businesses, homeowners and communities of color through the Emergency Capital Investment Program, the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program and the CDFI Fund.

Bynum and HOPE Enterprise and the credit union have been leaders in making capital more accessible in the Mississippi Delta region.

HOPE has generated over $3.6 billion in financing and related services for the unbanked and underbanked; homeowners, entrepreneurs and small business owners, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, and other community and economic development purposes, the organizations reported.

The projects have benefited more than two-million individuals throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.



Connecticut’s Mutual Security Credit Union Donates $7,500 in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Mutual Security Credit Union donated $2,500 to each of the following nonprofits that serve and empower the Black community:

The Prosperity Foundation: a community foundation that is committed to advancing Black communities through Black philanthropy.

The Carver Foundation of Norwalk: Carver’s mission is to close opportunity gaps for all children and to ensure they graduate high school on time and ready for college and careers. Click here for related blog story.

Urban League of Southern Connecticut: The Urban League of Southern Connecticut, Inc. is driven by a single goal; to do their part in making the world a better place for all. The urban League has an outstanding track record of providing nationally recognized credentials and certifications, the home buyer, and financial education workshops and one-on-one counseling, and comprehensive wrap-around services which breaks down barriers to self-sufficiency.

As a financial institution dedicated to empowering the communities we serve, Mutual Security Credit Union strives to be a true community partner and assist the great work nonprofits in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties are doing to help individuals in times of great need. This can be through monetary support, providing volunteers, or offering personalized financial education.



Florida and Georgia Credit Union Members Receive Millions in Benefits During 2021

Florida Members Receive Nearly $468 Million in Benefits
Florida credit unions continue to prove they provide more financial benefits to members than other financial institutions, according to data from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA). CUNA estimates that Florida credit unions provided $467.7 million in direct benefits to 6.4 million members during the one-year period between September 2020 and September 2021.

The Florida Membership Benefits Report shows credit unions generally offer lower loan rates, higher savings rates, and fewer fees than other financial institutions. During that same one-year period from September 2020 to September 2021, Florida credit unions saved their members a total of $73 per member or $153 per member household compared to what banks offer their customers. This is because credit unions return excess profits to their members, who are shareholders of the organization.

“Floridians realize the benefits of being a credit union member,” said Patrick La Pine, CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates (LSCU & Affiliates). “Credit unions across America provide several options including everyday checking and savings accounts, and even more personalized solutions that keep families out of debt. It’s all part of the credit union mission to improve financial well-being for all and advance the communities they serve.”

According to the benefits report, financing a $25,000 new car for 60 months at a Florida credit union will save members an average of $205 per year in interest compared to what they would pay at a banking institution. Overall, Florida members received a benefit of $390.5 million for all types of auto loans during the 2020-2021 annual period.
Florida credit unions also pay members higher average dividends on share draft checking, money markets, certificates, IRAs, and more. The average certificate interest rate for a credit union earns 0.34%, while a bank only earns 0.21% for members.

Georgia Members Receive $287 Million in Benefits
Georgia credit unions continue to prove they provide more financial benefits to members than other financial institutions, according to data from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA). CUNA estimates that Georgia credit unions provided $287.4 million in direct benefits to 2.2 million members during the one-year period between September 2020 and September 2021.

The Georgia Membership Benefits Report shows credit unions generally offer lower loan rates, higher savings rates, and fewer fees than other financial institutions. During that same one-year period from September 2020 to September 2021, Georgia credit unions saved their members a total of $130 per member or $274 per member household compared to what banks offer their customers. This is because credit unions return excess profits to their members, who are shareholders of the organization.

According to the benefits report, financing a $25,000 new car for 60 months at a Georgia credit union will save members an average of $314 per year in interest compared to what they would pay at a banking institution. Overall, Georgia members received a benefit of $206 million for all types of auto loans during the 2020-2021 annual period.

Georgia credit unions also pay members higher average dividends on savings, share draft checking, money markets, certificates, IRAs, and more. The average savings account interest rate for a credit union earns 0.14%, while a bank only earns 0.04% for members. Georgians are earning $41.2 million total in benefits from higher interest rates on savings products at credit unions.


Articles for March 25, 2022 Issue

  • North Dakota Senator and Governor Issue Comments to NCUA on Ag Lending
  • DIFS, Industry Leaders Launch Michigan Open Account Coalition
  • CA and NV Leagues Pledge $100k Toward Ukraine Relief Efforts
  • Illinois’ Alliant CU Reports It Sold $139M in Loan Participations in First 2 Months of 2022

North Dakota Senator and Governor Issue Comments to NCUA on Ag Lending
Courtesy of

March 21, 2022 — Two elected officials in North Dakota have issued statements of support after NCUA revised its strategic plan to clarify that the agency will not take regulatory action based on “climate-related financial risks,” which critics have suggested would discourage credit unions from lending to farmers, ranchers, agri-businesses and rural communities

The Dakota Credit Union Association has also submitted a comment letter to the agency in which it was critical of the potential fallout of new climate change-related regulations on Ag lending credit unions. “Farmers and ranchers not only serve as the foundation of North Dakota’s economy, they help ensure that every American continues to have access to the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). “As such, our nation’s agriculture producers deserve our support, and we appreciate NCUA responding to our concerns and clarifying that credit unions will not be discouraged from lending to those in the agricultural sector.”

Prior to the announcement from NCUA, Hoeven had sent a bicameral letter to the agency’s chairman, Todd Harper, pressing the agency to continue supporting agriculture producers’ access to credit.

Separately,  in a letter Gov. Doug Burgum thanked the NCUA board for revising its strategic plan to clarify its stance. Burgum said that while he would have preferred to see the climate risk language removed, “We appreciate the NCUA board clarifying its position so that credit unions know they can continue to provide financial services to our farmers, ranchers and energy industry without fear that such activity will put them in the crosshairs of federal regulators. North Dakota continues to be a leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage efforts, recognizing that carbon neutrality can be achieved only through innovation, not regulation.”



DIFS, Industry Leaders Launch Michigan Open Account Coalition
Effort will increase access to low-cost accounts at Michigan banks and credit unions

March 18, 2022 —The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), Michigan Bankers Association, and Michigan Credit Union League announced the creation of a new coalition aimed to help more Michiganders establish a relationship with a bank or credit union. The Michigan Open Account Coalition’s mission is to encourage relationships between financial institutions and historically underserved communities, educate consumers about the importance of having a relationship with a financial institution, and promote the availability of, and access to, consumer financial accounts.

“There are many benefits to having a relationship with a financial institution, including added security and access to home loans and other important financial services. This coalition will work to clear barriers for Michiganders who currently do not have an account with a bank or credit union and help more Michiganders build greater financial security,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “We are pleased to join our industry partners on this effort, and we look forward to working with Michigan’s banks and credit unions as well as community organizations to improve financial services access to all Michigan residents.”

A primary focus of the Coalition will be to work with financial institutions to ensure that consumers have access to low- and no-cost accounts. This will be accomplished through the certification of accounts by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s (CFE) Bank On program, which sets standards for acceptable fees and costs for customer accounts. The coalition will also work with financial institutions, community organizations, and trade associations to educate the public and support them as they build greater financial security.

Read More Here



CA and NV Leagues Pledge $100k Toward Ukraine Relief Efforts

L-R: SAFE CU CEO Dave Roughton, chairman of the California Credit Union League; and Clark County CU CEO Matt Kershaw, chairman of the Nevada Credit Union League

March 18, 2022 — In the spirit of making a difference during a time of global tragedy, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues has pledged $100,000 toward Ukrainian financial relief efforts to help sustain credit union employees and members who are most in need as the current crisis unravels across that country.

“From thousands of miles away, we stand with our movement and remain committed to supporting Ukraine’s humanitarian plight as local credit unions, staff and members are besieged by a lack of food, water, housing, and other supplies and operational resources,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the Leagues. “Our trade association’s daily mission to help credit unions change people’s lives is emboldened during times like these, no matter where the devastation is taking place and help is needed.”

The Leagues’ contribution to the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund will directly support mitigation of both short and long-term impacts to Ukraine’s credit union system, including displaced credit union employees, members, and challenges to the country’s credit union system over the long term. The California Credit Union League pledged $75,000 and the Nevada Credit Union League pledged $25,000.

The credit union system — including state leagues, industry partners, and locally headquartered credit unions across both states and the nation — has a long history of working together to support communities during disasters at home and abroad. Brought on by war, the current emergency in Ukraine is no different as it affects residents, workers and their families through hardship and isolation.

Read More Here


Alliant CU Reports It Sold $139M in Loan Participations in First 2 Months of 2022
Courtesy of CUToday

March 16, 2022 — Alliant Credit Union is reporting its loan trading desk has started 2022 with $139.6 million of loan participations sold in the first two months of 2022, primarily consisting of recreational vehicle (RV) loans.

Alliant began financing RVs for members in 2008, and in 2013 expanded into indirect channels focusing on larger franchise dealerships. Alliant said its current RV loan portfolio is roughly $1.5 billion.

“The rising popularity of RV travel represents a growing opportunity for credit unions, encouraging them to be more comfortable with RV loans as an asset class,” the credit union said. “While RV loans have similarities to auto loans, their risk-adjusted returns tend to outperform auto loans. The nature of the collateral, larger loan sizes, longer loan terms, and more complex underwriting make RV loans an appealing specialty lending sector.”

Alliant added that year-to-date sales have “provided other financial institutions the opportunity to gain access to a high-performing asset class,” while furthering its lending objectives.

Read More Here


Articles for March 18, 2022 Issue

  • First-of-its-kind Partnership in California aims to Create Accessory Dwelling Unit Loan Product
  • Retirement Announcements in WI and MI: Winnebago Community Credit Union’s President Tony Tiede and Dort Financial Credit Union President/CEO Vicki Hawkins
  • Happening in Maryland: Point Breeze Credit Union Hosts Clothing Drive and Donates $20,000 to Dress for Success of Greater Baltimore
  • Paying Tribute to Our Military: Alaska USA Honors 12 Members of Alaska’s Armed Services

Napa Valley Community Foundation and Redwood Credit Union Join Forces to Create Accessory Dwelling Unit Loan Product

March 16, 2022 — Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) and Redwood Credit Union (RCU) have entered a first-of-its-kind partnership that aims to accelerate the adoption of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Napa and Sonoma Counties. The result is an innovative ADU construction loan product that will enable more homeowners to borrow the capital they need to construct second units.

Redwood Credit Union, a mission-driven, not-for-profit financial institution with 400,000 members in northern California, is managing all aspects of the ADU lending program. Napa Valley Community Foundation, a public charity that focuses on the most important challenges facing the region, including the scarcity of workforce housing, is setting aside reserves that will be available to help defray losses that the credit union may incur under new underwriting standards that take future ADU rental income into account in ways that traditional loan products do not.

“We think our collaboration with RCU will open the door to thousands of fixed-income, middle-income, and lower-income homeowners in the North Bay, people who would not otherwise be able to afford to finance an ADU,” said NVCF President Terence Mulligan. The loan product, Mulligan continued, does two things differently. “First, it allows borrowers to include a significant share of their expected ADU rental income during the underwriting process, which means a more favorable debt-to-income calculation, which generally means a bigger loan. Second, it establishes a value for the completed ADU based on future rental cash flows instead of the cost of construction, which means a more favorable loan-to-value number, which also makes more capital available.”

The Association of Bay Area Governments has determined the need to identify capacity for 18,400 new housing units in Napa and Sonoma Counties during the upcoming eight-year Housing Element period (2023 to 2031). ADUs will play an important role in helping to alleviate the significant housing challenges, creating much-needed affordable workforce housing.

Click here to read more about this partnership strategy.



Credit Union Retirement Announcements

Winnebago Community Credit Union’s President Mr. Anthony “Tony” Tiede has announced his retirement effective June 1, 2022.

Tony has been with the credit union for nearly 25 years. In December of 1997, Tony became president, succeeding interim President Jean Kolodzik.

During Tony’s tenure, Winnebago went from $12 million in assets with 3,417 members to $155 million in assets and 8,291 members. Under his leadership, he oversaw the credit union serving the counties of Winnebago, Outagamie and Fond du Lac, merger of another credit union and added an additional branch to the Oshkosh community.

The Board of Directors announced that Mr. Tiede will be succeeded by Mr. Derek Groth, currently the President/CEO of another credit union, on March 23, 2022.

Dort Financial Credit Union Announces Retirement of President/CEO Vicki Hawkins

After 36 years of dedication to the members and employees of Dort Financial Credit Union, Vicki Hawkins, president and CEO, will retire on March 18th.

Vicki’s career at Dort Financial began in 1986 when she joined the credit union as an accountant. Since then, she has served many roles at the credit union, including as the controller, the CFO, the VP of finance, and, since 2009, the president and CEO of the credit union.

During her 13-year leadership tenure, the credit union’s asset size has grown from 350 million to 1.3 billion dollars while membership has more than doubled from 50,000 to over 109,000 members. The organization also increased the number of branches from seven to 10 and expanded to a statewide charter in 2020.



Point Breeze Credit Union Hosts Clothing Drive and Donates $20,000 to Dress for Success of Greater Baltimore

On International Women’s Day 2022, Point Breeze Credit Union announced a $20,000 donation to the local Greater Baltimore affiliate of Dress for Success. Point Breeze staff and leadership also hosted a clothing drive, donating new and gently used business professional workwear to Dress for Success, in addition to the monetary donation. The mission of Dress for Success – a nonprofit in over 150 cities worldwide – is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the developmental tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Dress for Success refers women to local participating boutiques, where volunteers assist in choosing business attire to help them feel confident and look their best while job searching and interviewing for new employment, as well as offering career guidance and support.

“Point Breeze believes it is important to support nonprofits like Dress for Success, who are instilling confidence and providing valuable assistance to members of our community every day,” said Point Breeze President & CEO, Tonia Niedzialkowski. “We wanted to assist in bolstering the growth and professional development of working women, which includes helping them obtain appropriate attire.”

Supporting and empowering women in the workplace is particularly important to Point Breeze Credit Union, where the senior leadership team is comprised of all women and the overall workforce is currently 87 percent female professionals.

“As women leaders, it is our role to help grow the next generation of leaders,” Niedzialkowski continued. “My best advice to women seeking career growth is to believe in yourself and find good mentors—people who care about you and want you to succeed.”



Alaska USA Honors Alaska’s Military
27th Annual Military Appreciation Breakfast

Alaska USA honored 12 members of Alaska’s armed services, the Military Spouse of the Year, and the Civic Leader of the Year at the 27th annual Alaska USA Military Appreciation Breakfast.

The Service Person of the Year honorees, nominated by their supervisors, undergo a panel interview. These exceptional enlisted service members, representing each of the active-duty branches of the Guard and Reserve, were recognized and awarded for their outstanding achievements.

Guests included the command teams of the 12 honorees, as well as representatives for Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, and Congressman Young. Alaska USA President and CEO Geoff Lundfelt, along with other Alaska USA officials and members of Alaska USA senior leadership team, were in attendance to recognize the awardees in-person for the first time since 2020.

“As we returned to an in-person event, it was a nice reminder of how this small token of recognition, is truly appreciated by the service members who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Geoff Lundfelt, President and CEO, Alaska USA. “Each year this event provides an opportunity for us to look back at our history and think about our humble beginnings rooted in the military,”

The Alaska USA Military Appreciation Breakfast takes place in conjunction with the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska’s annual Salute to the Military event.


Articles for March 11, 2022 Issue

  • An announcement in South Carolina: State Treasurer Curtis Loftis announces the selection of Kathy L. Bickham as New Commissioner of Banking
  • Happening in Texas: Texas Trust and Texas Credit Union Merger Finalized
  • Portland, Oregon’s Unitus Community Credit Union Enters Formal Partnership with the Consulate of Mexico and their very own SVP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Gayle Evans is Honored as a 2022 “Woman of Influence”

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis Announces the Selection of Kathy L. Bickham as New Commissioner of Banking
Courtesy of MidlandsBiz/WHO’S ON THE MOVE

March 9, 2022 —South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Chairman of the State Board of Financial Institutions, announced that Kathy L. Bickham has been selected to serve as the next Commissioner of Banking for the state. She is the first woman to serve in this capacity at the agency.

Bickham began her career with the State Board of Financial Institutions, the agency charged with chartering, examining and regulating South Carolina state-chartered banks and credit unions, as an entry level Bank Examiner in 1991. Over the next 14 years, she steadily progressed throughout the ranks and in 2005, she was named Deputy Commissioner of Banking. She was named Interim Banking Commissioner in January 2022, when Rick Green stepped down from that position.

Bickham played an integral part in securing South Carolina’s participation in a national bank examiner pilot program and has worked with the National Credit Union Association to explore supervisory efficiencies and reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Bickham has a Bachelor of Administration in Accounting and a master’s degree in business education.

“I am honored and excited to serve as Commissioner of Banking. I would like to thank Chairman Loftis and the Board for their confidence in me and the support they have given me,” Bickham said. “I look forward to working with the Board and our excellent staff as we move forward.”

Read more about this announcement here.


Texas Trust and Texas Credit Union Merger Finalized

March 1, 2022 — The merger of Texas Credit Union (formerly known as Texas Federal Credit Union) and Texas Trust Credit Union is complete.

The Texas Credit Union membership is now part of Texas Trust, a community-based credit union that offers competitive financial services for every aspect of life. Members can use the credit union’s online and mobile banking platform from virtually anywhere, making it easier to conduct their daily financial business anytime.. For members who prefer to do business in person, they have access to 22 locations to serve them.CEO of Texas Trust Credit Union Jim Minge

Being part of Texas Trust gives members access to competitive financial services that will enable them to buy or refinance a home, purchase a car, truck, or an RV, along with products to help them save for retirement or finance a business venture.

“Our employees worked diligently throughout the conversion to make the transition seamless for our new members from Texas Credit Union,” said Jim Minge, CEO of Texas Trust Credit Union. “Now that the merger is complete, we hope these members will leverage all of the great services we offer so they can make Texas Trust their primary bank.”

Minge added, “The merger also gave us a new presence in a prime location on Pleasant Run Road near I-35 in DeSoto. This branch will help increase our ability to serve this growing and diverse market.”


Portland, Oregon’s Unitus Community Credit Union Enters Formal Partnership with the Consulate of Mexico and their very own SVP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Gayle Evans is Honored as a 2022 “Woman of Influence”

Formal Partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in Portland
This unique partnership allows Unitus to create an inclusion and financial education program at the Consulate for the Mexican community in the metro area.

Unitus Community Credit Union just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Consulate of Mexico to establish a partnership to provide education and services to members of the Mexican community in Portland. Unitus is just one of two credit unions in Oregon to set up this partnership with the Consulate of Mexico, and only one of a few in the United States.

As part of the partnership, Unitus will create an inclusion and financial education program at the Consulate. In addition, Unitus has committed to accepting the Matricula Consular ID Card as a form of acceptable identification to open new member accounts. The credit union will also participate in the Consulate’s Consulados Moviles (mobile consulate) program, reaching rural areas with financial education and resource information.

2022 “Women of Influence” Award Winner
The Portland Business Journal’s annual awards ceremony recognizes Evans as an established business leader with a strong record of innovation in her field

The Portland Business Journal has recognized Unitus Community Credit Union’s Gayle Evans as a 2022 Women of Influence Award winner. Ms. Evans serves as Unitus’ SVP/Chief Human Resources Officer. She joined Unitus in 2007.

The annual Women of Influence Awards honor the region’s most influential businesswomen, according to the Portland Business Journal. The awards’ call for nominations sought women who have made a difference in their communities and blazed a trail, leaving a mark on the Pacific Northwest community. Nominees were judged on professional accomplishments, community leadership, as well as awards and milestones.

Examples of Ms. Evans’ innovation in her field include implementing a monthly student loan principal payment benefit for employees, saving them thousands of dollars as they pay off loans three-to-five years early. She also instituted a partnership with BankWork$, a program that improves social mobility by helping young adults from low-income communities build meaningful careers in banking, which led to 17 new hires at Unitus. Ms. Evans moved Unitus’ employee medical plan to a self-insured platform, saving $12 million for the membership, lowering the cost to employees, and gaining the flexibility to tailor the benefits to meet the needs of the workforce.

Ms. Evans’ contributions to the community helped earn this recognition. She serves as a Trustee on the Board of Directors for Western Oregon University, the chair of Oregon Business & Industry’s health care steering committee, and a mentor for the Portland Rose Festival Court. She has also been appointed to two committees by Oregon Governor Kate Brown: the Task Force on Resolution of Adverse Healthcare Incidents and as vice chair of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission’s Board of Directors.


Read more about Consulate of Mexico partnership here.

Read more about Gayle Evans’ accomplishment here. 


Articles for March 4, 2022 Issue

  • Happening in Georgia and New York: NCUA Returns Control of Southern Pine Credit Union and Municipal Credit Union to Members
  • Celebrating in Kentucky: Abound Credit Union Wins National Award for Youth Financial Literacy
  • North Carolina Promotes Higher Education: $40,000 Grant from SECU Foundation Helps Higher Ed Works Expand Resources for Education Initiative
  • Among Indiana’s Best Places to Work: FORUM Credit Union Named One of Indiana’s Best Places to Work for Eleventh Consecutive Year


NCUA Returns Control of GA and NY Credit Unions to Members

March 1, 2022 – The National Credit Union Administration today announced that Southern Pine Credit Union of Valdosta, Georgia, will once again be under the control and direction of its members, effective March 17, 2022.

Southern Pine Credit Union is a federally insured, state-chartered credit union with 1,594 members and assets of $42,842,199, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report. Southern Pine Credit Union serves current and retired employees of Packaging Corporation of America, Valdosta, Georgia, and their immediate family members.

NCUA placed Southern Pine Credit Union into conservatorship in June 2020. The credit union is the second federally insured credit union to emerge from NCUA conservatorship in 2022.

Municipal Credit Union, located in New York City, is once again under the control of its members after release from conservatorship, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced. DFS took possession of Municipal Credit Union in May 2019 and appointed the NCUA as conservator to ensure the credit union’s financial stability and safe-and-sound operation. Member services continued uninterrupted.

“Municipal Credit Union’s emergence from conservatorship is a significant victory for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on the institution for their financial needs,” said DFS Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris. “This successful collaboration of state and federal regulators puts the credit union back under New York State supervision, and we look forward to its continued operation in a safe and sound manner.”

According to its most recent Call Report, Municipal Credit Union is a federally insured, state-chartered credit union with 586,597 members and assets of more than $4 billion. Municipal Credit Union serves persons working for the city of New York, along with other approved groups and associations.



Abound Credit Union Wins National Award for Youth Financial Literacy

Abound Credit Union received national recognition as an award recipient of the 2021 Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Alphonse Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award. The Credit Union received second place in the more than $1 billion asset category.

Specifically, the award recognized Abound Credit Union’s significant expansion of its financial literacy programs for elementary, middle, high school and college students. These programs empower students to be smart financial decision-makers and reached over 6,000 local students during the last school year. In addition to school-based programs, the Credit Union also works with the Kentucky Department for Community Based services to help foster children learn the skills they need to be self-sufficient. Credit Union leaders also worked directly with Fort Knox to launch an after-care financial education program in partnership with their youth center.

“At Abound Credit Union, we are committed to providing the financial education and resources Kentuckians need to improve their lives. By teaching children to be smarter financial decision-makers early on, we’re making a long-term impact that will help their families and entire communities thrive,” said Ray Springsteen, President & CEO of Abound Credit Union.



$40,000 Grant from SECU Foundation Helps Higher Ed Works Expand Resources for Education Initiative

SECU Foundation has awarded a $40,000 grant to Higher Ed Works (HEW) to help the non-partisan public charity support and promote public higher education in North Carolina. HEW will use the funding to expand resources for written and video production, helping to fulfill their mission to educate North Carolinians about the great value of the state’s public, postsecondary education. Over the next two years, Higher Ed Works will place special emphasis on promoting the North Carolina Community College System in conjunction with the ambitious goal of myFutureNC – ensuring that by 2030, two million North Carolinians have a high-quality credential or a postsecondary degree.

“Education is one of SECU Foundation’s core focus areas, and one that we have been making a great impact in statewide since our establishment in 2004,” remarked Jama Campbell, SECU Foundation Executive Director. “Organizations like Higher Ed Works are bringing greater awareness to educational opportunities that will help North Carolinians achieve their goals and improve their economic future. We are pleased to support this organization, as we work together to promote public higher education in our state and achieve the lofty myFutureNC goal by 2030.”

“Higher Ed Works and the SECU Foundation share a mission to see that more North Carolinians benefit from the outstanding public colleges and universities in our state, so our collaboration seems only fitting,” said Paul Fulton, Chair of the Higher Ed Works Board. “We very much appreciate the support of the SECU Foundation.”



FORUM Credit Union Named One of Indiana’s Best Places to Work for Eleventh Consecutive Year

February 22, 2022 — FORUM Credit Union was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana among large companies. A total of 125 businesses receive this prestigious designation and FORUM is one of only three credit unions in the state to be named. This marks the eleventh consecutive year FORUM has received recognition on this list. FORUM was also included on the Hall of Fame list. The Hall of Fame designation is for companies that have been included on the Best Places to Work list for at least 60% of the program’s history.

Best Places to Work honorees are compiled by the Workforce Research Group and are determined through employer reports and employee surveys. Winners are selected from four categories: small companies of between 15 and 74 U.S. employees; medium companies of between 75 and 249 employees; large companies of between 250 and 999 employees; and major companies with 1,000 or more employees. Rankings will be revealed at an awards ceremony on May 12.

“We are excited and honored to be named on this list,” said Doug True, CEO of FORUM Credit Union. “Our FORUM teammates build, shape, and continually strive to improve our working culture and environment. They look out for one another, take pride in serving our members, and make a difference in our communities. We do not take being on this list for granted.”

Read more about Indiana’s best places to work here.


Article Summary for February 25, 2022 Issue

  • Happening in Michigan: ELGA Credit Union Retirement Announcement and NSF changes save members millions
  • Happening in Wisconsin: WDFI and Three Credit Unions Are Celebrated with 2021 Governor’s Financial Literacy Organizational Awards
  • Merger in Massachusettes: Align Credit Union and Alltrust Credit Union Announce Intent to Merge
  • Missouri Milestone: Community Celebrates 20,000th college savings account with the successful College Kids Program for students thanks to Alltru Credit Union and the City of St. Louis Office of the Treasurer


Michigan-based ELGA Credit Union’s 2022 Transformation

ELGAFebruary 24, 2022 In addition to making news this month with member-focused operational changes, ELGA’s longtime President and CEO, Karen Church is retiring this week. Church, who has been with the credit union since 1974 and CEO since 1993, will be succeeded by executive vice president Terry Katzur, effective as of Feb. 26, 2022

“I am fortunate to have this opportunity to lead Elga Credit Union into the future, while continuing the legacy and culture that has made this organization a special place for our members and associates,” Katzur said in a press release Tuesday.

Under Church’s tenure as CEO, Elga grew from 18 employees and $32 million of assets to more than 250 employees and $1.2 billion of assets.

Changes in Member Services

Recently, ELGA Credit Union reduced its non-sufficient funds (NSF) and courtesy pay service charges to $15 from $25, with an expected annual savings of $4 million in members. This change went into effect in January and has already saved members $348,980 in January alone.

“Our purpose is people helping people, and we continuously look to improve the service our members receive,” said CFO David Brandt. “This change reduces the cost of a service a large number of our members use by 40%.”

ELGA CU said the change is part of the credit union’s menu of affordable money management tools, which include,

  • Free balance notifications through mobile banking alerts, texts, or email
  • Overdraft transfer from linked savings accounts
  • Affordable small-dollar loans
  • Free online budgeting and money management video tutorials



WDFI and Three Credit Unions Are Celebrated with 2021 Governor’s Financial Literacy Organizational Awards

February 23, 2022 — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers honored three credit unions and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions as winners of the 2021 Governor’s Financial Literacy Organizational Award.

“Financial education should build on and respond to people’s individual strengths, circumstances, and needs in order to help them work toward their own unique goals,” said Gov. Evers. “The dedication of these individuals and organizations to help Wisconsinites become more financially secure and achieve their dreams is commendable and helps ensure not only the future success of individuals and families but our entire state.”

The recipients of the 2021 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards Organizational Category include:

Fort Community Credit Union, Fort Atkinson: This credit union is passionate about sharing sound financial advice with students, parents, educators, and community organizations and offers these services and financial literacy resources at no cost to members and community members. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Fort Community Credit Union team didn’t skip a beat in pivoting these efforts to virtual resources. Ultimately, increasing the number of resources available and the reach to both credit union members and the community at large.

Royal Credit Union, Correctional Institution Financial Education Program, Eau Claire: This credit union developed a correctional facility financial education program designed to help individuals achieve financial well-being. They have been offering lessons in budgeting and financial management at Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility in Chippewa Falls for two years. Since the program launched in 2019, Royal Credit Union and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections have helped 400 people learn better spending habits and improve their understanding of how to build credit before they returned to their communities.

UW Credit Union, Madison: In this past year, UW Credit Union in Madison has taken a multi-faceted approach to better serve those traditionally underserved or excluded from financial services. The three key developments in 2021 include: Bank On Greater Milwaukee certified accounts, financial inclusion, and education outreach staffing, and the reduction of overdraft fees – saving credit union members a total of $2 million dollars per year, putting money back into credit union members’ pockets for things they need. This change allows for more financial security

Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds and Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security™ Program, Madison: The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions in Madison were awarded a $100,000 grant to create and implement the Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security™ program. Wisconsin Strong is an innovative and holistic financial wellness program for Wisconsin’s 260,000 public service employees, 215,000 retirees, and their families. The program had a very successful engagement with over 10,500 online financial health self-assessments completed, more than 4,200 individuals completed 14,000 financial wellness courses, and over 5,100 individuals attended financial wellness webinars.

Criteria that will be used to judge the nominations include: innovative implementation of an effective financial literacy and capability program or program element within the last two years; emphasizes financial inclusion, demonstrated measurable results; collaboration with partners; and scalability of the program design.

Read more here



Massachusettes Align Credit Union and Alltrust Credit Union Announce Intent to Merge

February 16, 2022 – Align Credit Union, a $740 million credit union located in Lowell, MA, and Alltrust Credit Union, a $300 million credit union located in Fairhaven, MA, have announced their intention to pursue a merger. Pursuant to regulatory and member approval, the merger would combine Align’s 28,230 members with Alltrust’s 13,900 members and will result in an organization with combined assets of over $1 billion.

Both credit unions were formed in 1922 as telephone worker credit unions and both are celebrating their 100th year anniversary. The joining of two telephone worker credit unions is a collaboration of shared mission and culture, and both have a passion for providing superior banking services to their members and the community.

The decision to pursue a possible merger was originated due to several criteria including the similar telephone worker backgrounds of each credit union; their shared values; desire to deliver financial guidance and solutions to their members and the community; and a joint dedication to their employees and their careers.

“The synergies between Align and Alltrust led us to this path of discovering the possibility of a merger,” stated Ken Del Rossi, Align President and CEO. “Our credit unions were each established as telephone worker credit unions and the merger would bring the amazing vision and culture of our credit unions together. Along with the shared goals, a merger would allow the combined credit union to realize economies of scale and strengthen our abilities to improve the products and services offered to our members.”

Read more here

Community Celebrates 20,000th college savings account with the successful College Kids Program for students thanks to Alltru Credit Union and the City of St. Louis Office of the Treasurer

February 14, 2022 – For seven years, the College Kids Program has been automatically opening savings accounts for every incoming kindergartner in the St. Louis City Public and charter school district. Each year, new incoming students are told they have been given access to a college savings account, which when they graduate will help them toward their next step of higher education, setting an expectation from the first day of school that college is within reach. Alltru Credit Union, a founding partner with the College Kids program and the City of St. Louis Office of the Treasurer, has just successfully opened the 20,000th account for the program, which studies have shown, can help build expectations for higher education and positive, lifelong financial habits.

“Alltru works every day to strategically break down barriers to banking so that more families can build sustainable, generational wealth” said Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager at Alltru Credit Union. “From the day we learned about this program in 2014, it was clear to see that College Kids was in alignment with our core values and our mission to create wealth and credit building opportunities in the communities we serve. This program was strategically and thoughtfully designed to elevate the trajectory of all who attend St. Louis Public Schools, and we are dedicated to making sure it will create a path towards financial security for every family in the district. As a St. Louis Public School alum, I am extremely proud of this work and I don’t love any part of my job more than when I am teaching our College Kids about how to save money or helping a parent access a credit building loan.”

Empirical research from the Assets and Education Initiative has shown that children with $500 or less saved for college, are three times more likely to enroll and four times more likely to graduate. Students in the College Kids program are given an immediate $50 initial deposit from the Office of the St. Louis City Treasurer, and then have opportunities for matching funds, incentives for completing financial education and attendance provided through private fundraising efforts. Students can also make ongoing and automatic deposits into their accounts, and in fact, have saved nearly $300,000 of their own funds in these accounts.

Read more here

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