Members in the News

Northwest Credit Unions Well-Represented in CUNA ELLy Awards

Outstanding credit union trainers and training programs were honored during an awards presentation at the 2011 CUNA Experience Learning Live! (ELL) conference, held October 16-19 in Las Vegas, Nev., and half of the credit union professionals recognized were from the Northwest. The ELLy awards are the only national awards presented to credit union trainers that recognize excellence in professional staff development.

The Training Professional of the Year Award recognizes achievements of a visionary credit union training professional or department for exceptional contributions to the learning and performance development of credit union staff. Award recipients in this category included:

  • First Place, Credit unions with less than 250 million in total assets: Don Vaughn of Sioux Falls Credit Union, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • First Place, Credit unions with more than 250 million in total assets: Training staff of Spokane Teacher’s Credit Union, Spokane, Wash.

The WOW! Award is presented to the credit union with the best overall training curriculum or event—one that inspires learning, teaches skills that go beyond the classroom and leaves participants empowered. Award recipients in this category included:

  • First Place: Tiffany Goodman and Tiffanie Walls of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, Seattle, Wash.
  • Award of Merit: Amanda Swartz of Christian Community Credit Union, San Dimas, Calif.
  • Award of Merit: Training and Staff Development of Educators Credit Union, Racine, Wis.

The Catalyst Award, meanwhile, recognizes a person or department that gives energy to something or someone else. It is meant to reward someone who knows that by giving the best of themselves, they become better, too. Award recipients in this category included:

  • First Place: Ken Kelly, Matt Milligan, Rod Snyder and Michelle Trekas of Red Canoe Credit Union, Longview, WA

Maps Credit Union Pays Off Member Auto Loan as Part of International Credit Union Day Celebration

In honor of International Credit Union Day, Maps Credit Union paid off Lance and Deanne Hicks’ entire auto loan balance—nearly $7,500. The giveaway capped the “Save a Million with Maps” auto loan promotion, which ran from April through September and empowered credit union staff to help members save money by refinancing high-rate auto and consumer loans through special rate offers.

The couple was thrilled and surprised when they were informed of their win. Their loan officer asked them to visit the branch to sign some paperwork, and the branch staff and members of the executive team were on hand to surprise the couple with their car title, balloons, and cake.

“I didn’t believe it,” said Lance. “We never win anything.”

Deanne echoed that sentiment while sharing her family’s story. The economic downturn hit them, just like it did many other local families. Deanne owns a small arts and crafts supplies business. Lance works as a research and development technician at High Impact Technologies, a Tigard-area startup that creates self-sealing coatings and materials for armored, military, and emergency vehicles and other applications.

Because finances were tight, they put off replacing their previous vehicle for a long time — for more than 20 years they drove a used car they bought from family. This June, they found a car that was a good fit for them, a 2006 Honda CR-V, and worked to cut their expenses so they could afford the monthly payment.

“Having this car is such a blessing,” Deanne said. “The blinkers work, the windows roll down, everything works.”

Even with the planning they did, though, their monthly budget was tight with a nearly $300 car payment. Deanne was moved to tears when it finally sunk in that the couple would no longer have to make that payment.

Vice President of Development Jill Nowacki was one of the executive team members present. “We had some great success stories during this promotion, including one member who will be saving $8,600 as a result of her refinance,” she said. “But seeing the look on Lance’s and Deanne’s faces when their loan officer, Bobbie, told them their loan is completely paid off, well, that was amazing. It just shows the power of credit unions to make their members’ lives better.”

Advantis Credit Union Recognized With Two Portland Business Journal Awards

The Portland Business Journal recognized Advantis Credit Union at the 2011 Corporate Philanthropy Awards as the winner of two special awards for their philanthropic partnerships and contributions within their local communities.

Advantis Credit Union was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partnerships Award. As the sole Oregon sponsor of Home for Our Troops, a non-profit organization that builds specially-adapted houses for disabled veterans, Advantis has helped put two severely injured veterans into new homes designed with features to fit their disabilities and make their lives easier.

Besides pledging $150,000, 112 Advantis employees donated their time and expertise to build the homes. Kevin Pannell and Christian Bagge, both of whom are disabled veterans and double amputees, were the recipients of the new homes, which feature wider hallways and wheelchair-accessible shelves and bathrooms.

“Advantis has been here from day one, and they’ve really kind of taken us in, not just as a project but as people,” Pannell said.

Advantis was given a second award for small companies in corporate philanthropy for 2010 Cash Contributions. Advantis gave a total $212,000 to local non-profits and made significant contributions to the Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division for families in need of emergency assistance and food, including $2,500 in in-kind donations, $2,650 worth of food, and $17,000 in cash. The Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, one of the country’s top children’s medical facilities, also received more than $22,000 from Advantis.

The awards were given out Sept. 22, 2011, at the Downtown Portland Hilton.

Columbia Credit Union Hires Doug Chambers as Vice President of Branch Services

Columbia Credit Union announces the hiring of Doug Chambers as Vice President of Branch Services. Chambers is charged with leading the strategic development and management of the credit union’s 12 retail branches to drive maximum productivity, sales, service and growth.

Originally from Idaho, Chambers currently lives in Clark County with his family. Chambers holds a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and most recently served as regional manager/performance coach for an Idaho credit union.

“I look forward to helping members successfully manage their finances and building on Columbia’s reputation for service excellence,” he said.

Peninsula Credit Union Receives Healthy Workplace Award

The Great West Division of the American Cancer Society presented Peninsula Credit Union with the 2011 Stay Well Award for their work promoting a healthy lifestyle for their employees. Peninsula Credit Union has been an active participant in the American Cancer Society’s Workplace Solutions program, which focuses on simple changes can that lead to improved health and energy.

In winning the award, Peninsula participated in Active For Life, Lunch & Learn sessions, Sun Safety Scavenger Hunt, “Great American Smokeout,” on-site massage therapy, on-site blood drives, and flu shot clinics, as well as participation in a “10K-a-Day” challenge and the Mason County Health Challenge. The credit union has made a conscious effort to have healthier snacks available at meetings as well, and to include monthly informational newsletters to employees promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Peninsula has also long been a supporter of Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer through sponsorship and teams.

Lacamas Promotes Eric Petracca and Kelly Kamhoot

Eric Petracca has been appointed to the newly-created position of vice president of marketing for Lacamas Community Credit Union. Petracca, a Camas, Wash., resident, has been a Lacamas employee for more than seven years, most recently as the director of operations. The credit union also appointed Kelly Kamhoot as vice president of member services, overseeing services in the credit union’s six branches and call center. The former Lacamas branch manager and his family live in Oregon City, Ore.

Lacamas Donates $3,000 to Stevenson-Carson School District

Lacamas Community Credit Union presented the Stevenson-Carson School District with a $3,000 donation check as part of the credit union’s 2011 Community Partnership Program. Lacamas COO Douglas Grout presented the check to Superintendent Teena McDonald at a student assembly at Stevenson High School on Sept 16.

“Our Community Partnership program helps local organizations make a difference right here in Southwest Washington,” Grout said. “Because it is part of the credit union’s mission to give back to the community, it is rewarding to make this donation to your schools.”

Lacamas’ Community Partnerships are select local organizations that benefit from the credit union’s fundraising efforts. Throughout the year, Lacamas raises funds through Entertainment Book sales and other activities.

Oregon Business Magazine Names Valley Credit Union One of 2011’s 100 Best Non-Profits to Work For

Valley Credit Union has been named one of the 2011 “100 Best Non-Profits to Work For in Oregon” by Oregon Business Magazine. This is the second year in a row that Valley Credit Union has received this honor, placing fourth in the mid-size non-profit category. The rankings were based on the confidential input of non-profit employees who answered questions about workplace satisfaction such as benefits, management, trust, work environment and career development.

“We recognize that our employees are the most unique and valuable resource we have at Valley, and we try and create an atmosphere that is fun, professional and full of opportunity for growth,” said Jean Wheat-Palm, President and CEO of Valley Credit Union. “This honor reflects the work environment that all of our employees and members have helped foster at the credit union.”


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Posted in Awards.