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Three Michigan CUs Net Innovation Awards
LANSING, Mich. (5/30/13)--The Michigan Credit Union League's first annual Innovation Awards were given to three Michigan credit unions at its Annual Convention & Exposition.

MCUL launched the innovation contest earlier this year to showcase and highlight cutting-edge programs, products and services in the state's credit unions (Michigan Monitor May 28).

Jackson (Mich.) Community FCU, which began offering a recourse lending program in partnership with a local auto dealer, was the winner in the up to $50 million asset category. It allows members who have bad credit or unusual financial situations to get regular financing for responsible vehicles with affordable prices, payments, terms and rates. Through the program, the dealership backs the loan 100%.  If the member does not make the payments, the car is repossessed and returned directly to the dealership.

Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU is the winner in the $50 million-$400 million asset category. A few months ago, the credit union launched The Great $2 Million Community Challenge. The credit union is tracking how much it saves members who refinance their loans with Frankenmuth. When it saves members $2 million in interest, it will donate $10,000 to five charities. Members had the chance to vote on which charities would receive $2,000 each on Facebook and the credit union's website. Since September, the credit union has saved members more than $700,000.

Michigan First CU in Lathrup Village won in the more than $400 million asset category for its Every Member's Experience Counts program. The program induces members to build stronger emotional connections with the credit union by treating them the way they want to be treated. Members are broken into four different groups, depending upon how they emotionally approach handling finances. The groups are identified by different colors. Members' particular emotional or color predominance is then stored at the account level to help staff know how to best connect with a particular member.

Sixteen credit unions of all asset sizes submitted entries.

"We salute the winning credit unions for their forward-thinking, creative programs that take the credit union difference to a whole new level," said MCUL CEO David Adams.
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