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Montana CU group to receive NCUFs Wegner Award
HELENA, Mont. (7/29/08)--Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD)--the five-year-old philanthropic arm of the Montana Credit Union Network--will receive the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Organization for its work in helping 50,000 people.
Click to view larger imageOne of the events sponsored by Herb Wegner Memorial Award recipient Montana Credit Unions for Community Development was the Montana REAL Solutions Payday Lending Alternatives kickoff, with Nancy Pierce, president of Tipton Research Group, Kansas City, Mo., speaking (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
The award will be presented Feb. 23 at the 21st Annual Wegner Awards Dinner hosted by the National Credit Union Foundation. The event will be at the Grand Hyatt Washington during the Credit Union National Association’s 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference. “We are proud of the real difference our organization is making in our state with 62 innovative credit unions," said Montana Credit Union Network President Tracie Kenyon. "On behalf of the 50,000 people we have helped (to) avoid predatory loans, keep more of their earned income, and open their first savings accounts, we thank the NCUF Awards & Recognition Committee for choosing the underdogs for this award.” “This organization really gets it," said NCUF Awards & Recognition Committee Chairman Bob Schumacher, CEO of MountainCrest CU, Arlington, Wash. "For credit unions to truly grow and thrive, we have to partner with other organizations who know the people most in need of credit union services. By following this innovative example, credit unions could reach millions more potential members and serve them for the greater good,” Schumacher said. MCUCD’s mission is to “implement programs, through credit unions, that improve the social and economic well-being of Montanans.” Most of its activities are directed toward serving the state’s low-wealth population. Montana’s median household income of $33,024 is substantially lower than the national average of $42,000. Fifty of Montana’s 62 credit unions have the National Credit Union Administration’s “low-income” designation. MCUCD’s services are packaged to aggregate resources and create “plug and play” products for credit unions to implement:
* Alternatives to Payday Lending--offering low-cost alternatives to meet short-term borrowing needs; * Credit Union Resource Center--web-based tools helping consumers make smarter financial decisions; * Early Awareness--educating parents of elementary-aged school children about planning and saving for college; * Financial Education--reaching classrooms, community centers, and boardrooms; * Individual Development Accounts--special matched savings accounts that encourage low-income members to become regular savers by doubling or tripling their principal; and * Volunteer Income Tax Assistance--free tax preparation sites in person and on the Internet, returning more than $1 million in Earned Income Tax Credits to working low-income families.
To grow and sustain these programs, MCUCD forged partnerships with 22 local, state and national organizations. Partners provided volunteer workers, strategic and capitalization planning, teacher training and consumer education, and $824,233 in grants. "Partnerships with MCUCD are about coming together with the resources of all partners and working together to make the best use of the gifts, talents, and resources that everyone contributes," said Kelly Chapman, executive director of the Student Assistance Foundation. "Many organizations espouse this philosophy, but too few actually live it. That’s why it’s so refreshing to work with MCUCD," Chapman added. Named for late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, the awards recognize the spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking leadership.” Online registration for the awards dinner will be available later this year at www.ncuf.coop.
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