Unitus’ Brett Wooden wins Young Credit Union Professional of the Year Award


September 8, 2011
Lynn Heider
(503) 350-2225
(503)358-0773 (mobile)
Washington and Oregon Foundations to present Summit Awards to four industry leaders

Seattle, WA. — A dynamic credit union sales leader who figured out how to take his credit union to potential members rather than waiting for them to come to the branches has won top honors from the Oregon and Washington credit union Foundations.  Brett Wooden will receive the Young Credit Union Professional of the Year Award at the Summit Awards dinner on September 22nd.

Wooden, a Business Development Manager for Unitus Community Credit Union, has developed a reputation for using technology to attract new members.  He made national trade news when he started using his iPad—a Fathers’ Day gift from his family—to make field visits to the offices of busy professionals who wanted to open accounts but did not have time to come to the office. Unitus approved of that innovative level of member services, and now staff routinely uses them inside and outside the branches to help members join, update accounts and use other services conveniently.  Wooden’s idea is being replicated in credit unions across the nation, and as a result, he’s been invited to speak at several industry conferences.

Wooden has set and met aggressive membership, business services and loan goals with his team at Unitus.  

“Brett truly wants to see the credit union industry not only survive but thrive,” said Laurie Kresl, VP of Planning and Business Development for Unitus, and Wooden’s boss.  “He has told me many times that credit unions are the right choice for everyone and he can’t understand why anyone would choose anything else.”

Summit Awards committee member Shirley Cate said all of the finalists for the award are making outstanding contributions to the credit union movement. “They have great ambition and drive in their jobs, and after reviewing these applicants, I’m extremely hopeful for the future of credit unions,” Cate said.

Cate said contestants were judged for their contributions to their credit unions, promotion of the credit union movement, commitment to professional development and continuing education and community involvement.

“Brett Wooden excels in all 4 areas.  You can see his passion for the credit union movement in all he has done since becoming a member Unitus Credit Union’s Team,” Cate remarked.

“It’s very humbling. I’m just flattered,” said Wooden. “I still think I haven’t accomplished everything I hope to do yet.”  Wooden would like to look years down the road to see how technology can further reward members and encourage financial literacy.

“We need more folks like Brett Wooden to ensure the credit union movement remains strong and vital well into the future,” noted Michael Lawson, who interviewed Wooden for his CUbroadcast program.

Off the clock at Unitus, Wooden lives the “People helping People” philosophy, serving holiday dinners at a homeless shelter with his wife and child, coaching children’s baseball teams and volunteering weekly to read to children attending a low-income school.

In addition to Wooden, three other industry leaders will receive Summit Awards.  The Foundations will present the Credit Union Professional of the Year, the Distinguished Credit Union Volunteer Mark of Excellence awards during the Summit Awards program. 

The event will be co-hosted by the Washington and Oregon Credit Union Foundations at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, on September 22, 2011, as part of the Northwest Credit Union Association Convention.  Interested media may contact Lynn Heider, AVP Communications, lheider@nwcua.org.


About the Summit Awards program:
The Summit Awards recognize leaders who advance the Northwest credit union movement.   Individuals are honored in four categories including Distinguished Credit Union Volunteer, Credit Union Professional of the Year, Young Credit Union Professional of the Year and the Mark of Excellence for 25 years or more of service.

About the Northwest Credit Union Association (nwcua.org):
The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) is the not-for-profit trade association serving Oregon and Washington’s 200 credit unions and their 4.2 million members. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to its members.

For information on how to join a credit union, please visit asmarterchoice.org

Click here to download a copy of the press release.

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