NEW YORK (5/16/11)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has announced the recipients of the 2011 Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” Award, the organization’s highest honor for community development credit union (CDCU) staff and volunteers. This year’s recipients of the awards are Mignhon Tourné, president/CEO of ASI FCU, Harahan, La., and Kim Vermander, senior vice president of Communicating Arts CU, Detroit. “While presented to individual CDCU heroes, the Annie Vamper ‘Helping Hands’ award not only recognize each awardees selfless work to promote the credit union ideal of ‘people helping people,’ but they also honor the credit unions that have enabled these individuals to shine,” said Cliff Rosenthal, president of the federation. “Through the individual efforts of our honorees, and the collective efforts of their credit unions, thousands of low- and moderate-income residents of New Orleans and Detroit, have access to affordable and responsible financial services.” Tourné and Vermander will receive their awards at a special ceremony on June 17, during the federation’s 37th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved in Hollywood, Calif.
Mignhon Tourné served on ASI FCU board of directors for over twenty years, spending 10 years as board president. While serving on ASI FCU board, she was a champion of diversity, encouraging the credit union to extend inclusive banking services to those segments of the population left behind by traditional financial institutions. Under her leadership as board president, ASI FCU grew from $10 million in assets to more than $250 million. During her tenure as CEO, Tourné has been equally instrumental in the creation and development of a many innovative programs, products, and services to benefit ASI FCU’s membership. She has spearheaded the creation two new bilingual branches, offering a welcoming multi-cultural environment and greater access of the credit union’s services by the Vietnamese-American community and the Spanish-speaking community--groups whose numbers have grown significantly in the greater New Orleans area over the past several years.
When Communication Arts CU opened a new branch in Highland Park, one of the most low-income and underserved communities in all of Detroit, “Kim was responsible for literally everything,” said Hank Hubbard, the credit union’s CEO, “from supervising the pouring of the cement floor to the selecting the shape of the counter, and from getting our name out in local churches to becoming treasurer of the Highland Park Business Association.”The Highland Park branch now serves about 2,500 members, accounts for nearly $2 million in savings and $3 million in loans. “And all of this was accomplished through word of mouth based on our service to the community--we have not done any traditional marketing--and Kim is a big reason for this success,” Hubbard said. Communicating Arts CU opened a second new branch in an equally devastated area in East Detroit in January, attracting more than 50 members in the first month alone. Successfully branching into neighborhoods forsaken by other institutions has become one of Vermander’s specialties. It is a skill that the credit union is putting to use as it refocuses its efforts to become Detroit's premier community development credit union. When told Vermander would receive a Vamper Award, Hubbard praised her selection. “Kim is our go-to person at the credit union,” he said. “She has been responsible for driving nearly all of the changes we have gone through since becoming a CDCU.”