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CUs on a roll as best of the best
MADISON, Wis. (3/27/12)--Communities across the nation continue to recognize credit unions as the best of the best in a variety of areas.

On March 8, News Now featured a story on credit unions nabbing "best workplace" awards and said it might be a trend.  Here's more proof, with credit unions recognized as best in a number of categories, ranging from "best for families" to "healthiest employer" to "best bank"--and more.

There are many ways to recognize credit unions, but all of these have something in common: credit unions are recognized for the service they provide: to employees, to members, to their communities.

A case in point: In Herndon, Va., Northwest FCU (NWFCU) and NWFCU Foundation were honored as the Best Financial Institution at the Vienna Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce annual Youth and Education luncheon. The annual event recognizes local Vienna, Va., schools with students participating in special exhibitions. This year, more than 190 students attended.

At the luncheon, banks and credit unions competed against each other, marketing their products and services to students and encouraging students to open an account using play money. After visiting with each institution, students "voted" by opening an account with what they believed to be the best financial institution. They also evaluated each institution on products and services.  NWFCU and its foundation swept all three categories and were voted Best Service, Best Product and Best Overall Financial Institution.

Other credit unions that have seen recent accolades from their communities:

  • In Dallas, Credit Union of Texas was named the "Best for Families" winner in the financial institutions category by Dallas Child magazine because of the perks it has offered children under 12, as well as older students and their families, including a prepaid credit card to help teens spend wisely. It also offers Kids Savings Accounts & Dollar Dog Kids Club, and student checking accounts, the credit union told the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer Feb. 13).
  • Pelican State CU, Baton Rouge, La., was named "Medium Business of the Year" by the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce for providing leadership and excellence in making the parish a better place to live and work, said the Louisiana Credit Union League (eNews Feb. 15). Credit union representatives attend all the chamber's membership meetings and fundraisers, and attend ribbon cuttings to welcome new business owners into the community. It sponsors the Antique Merchants Association and has volunteered in numerous community events, awards scholarships, and hosts a FREE Kids Bike Race for children under 12.
  • Arizona State CU, Phoenix, was awarded the "Valley's Healthiest Employer" award for its workplace wellness program by the Phoenix Business Journal.  The credit union's wellness program, begun in 2007, includes onsite treadmills, relaxation centers and yoga classes; offers gym reimbursements and weight loss incentives in a partnership with Weight Watchers.  It has more than 200 participants. It also has associate health screenings, which have encouraged behavioral change and saved the credit union more than $325,000 in claims in 2010.  The credit union was also ranked No. 1 credit union in Arizona by Ranking Arizona: The Best of Arizona Business, published annually by Arizona Business Magazine.
  • In Madison, Wis., UW CU was named one of Madison Magazine's 2012 Best Places to Work. The award is presented once every two years, UW CU also received the last award, in 2010. The award is based on six areas of engagement: trust, management, development, rewards, connection and life-work balance, and on organizations' environmental sustainability and diversity efforts. The survey is based on an employee engagement framework developed by Next Generation Consulting, a Madison research and consulting firm.
  • Freedom CU, based in Warminster, Pa., was named "Best Bank" in both Montgomeryville-Lansdale and in Abington in local community polls conducted by the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch and the Abington Patch. The unscientific polls asked readers to pick a favorite among the financial institutions in each area.  In Montgomeryville-Lansdale, Freedom CU received 52% of the overall vote with 228 votes, while in Abington, it received 59% of the votes.
  • Consumers CU, a $560 million asset,  Waukegan, Ill.-based credit union was recipient of  the 2012 Diversity Award for local businesses from the Village of Mundelein, Ill., for its outstanding community outreach program. Each year the award is presented by the Mundelein Human Relations Committee in three categories: individuals, organizations and businesses that demonstrate strong efforts to promote, create programs and advocate for cultural awareness.
  • Rogue CU, Medford, Ore., ranked No. 14 in the large employers' category of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, presented by Oregon Business Magazine. Roughly 263 companies participated in the survey, which analyzes Oregon companies' best practices for creating great places to work. More than 14,000 Oregon employees completed the survey.
  • Chemcel FCU, an $88 million asset credit union in Bishop, Texas, was voted Best of the Best Reader's Choice 2011 in the Corpus Christi Caller Times. The Best of the Best is the top honor, according to the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer Feb. 2).
  • For the 14th time in 15 years, Vacaville, Calif.-based Travis CU was the winner of the Fairfield Daily Republic's "Readers Choice Award 2011." It was voted Best Credit Union in Solano County and Best Mortgage Lender in Solano County.  Each day, Travis surveys its members who make transactions at their branches or by phone. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 as the highest score, the average overall servicing rating the credit union received from members last year was 9.70.
  • Workers' CU, Fitchburg, Mass, was presented the Business Partner of the Year Award by Shriver Job Corps for ongoing participation in its work-based learning program. The credit union's information technology department has provided four-week internships to students during the past four years. Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps eligible youth at least 16 learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job (Worcester Telegram & Gazette March 24).


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