Connection’s Prior Nominated for Credit Union Hero of the Year Award

For his work to make quality financial services available to unbanked and under banked consumers, Scott Prior is one of four industry leaders nominated for the national Credit Union Hero of the Year award.  Online voting is open through May 17th.

“It is quite an honor and I know there are a lot of folks out there who are more deserving than me,” said Prior, “but exposure for what we are trying to do is never a bad thing.”

Prior, president /CEO of Connection Credit Union in Silverdale, Washington, is the only Northwest candidate, and was nominated by an executive at another credit union in his community.

Prior and the team at Connection were driving forces bringing “Bank On” to Kitsap County earlier this year. Bank On is a nationwide program which negotiates with local financial institutions to provide financial services and education to unbanked and under banked consumers.  Connection’s” Bank On Kitsap” program offers financial education so the consumers can achieve financial stability.

Getting the program off the ground was difficult and it hit all sorts of speed bumps, Prior said.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t give some kudos to Scott Haeg at Kitsap Credit Union for taking the Bank On Kitsap ball and running with it to make it happen,” said Prior. “The program was mired in stagnation, waiting for the State to provide direction and for some of the big banks to make up their mind if this is how they wanted to earn their (Community Reinvestment Act) CRA credits.  Scott really made it happen by cutting through the layers of ‘stuff’ to just get it done.  We launched in February this year and his determination, drive and passion was a big reason for it.”

On Prior’s watch, Connection was also one of six Washington credit unions to launch Save to Win this month. The savings account program offers members an opportunity to enter a monthly and annual cash prize drawing for each $25 deposit.

“I’m just a firm believer that credit unions can do so much more to gain awareness and market share.  I view Bank On and Save to Win as us really getting back to our credit union roots and the ‘people helping people’ philosophy,” Prior remarked.  “We can never have the branch network or technology that the national banks have but we do have our ability to cooperate and collaborate and that is a competitive advantage we don’t capitalize on nearly enough.

Save to Win is also offered in three other states and has a demonstrated appeal to under banked consumers, often attracting first-time savers who build assets and grow their financial capacity.

Prior believes reaching out to offer the credit union option to under banked consumers is important so they don’t “end up at payday or online lenders who do not have their best interests at heart.”

Prior’s open passion for honoring the credit union movement’s roots landed him on Credit Union Magazine’s nomination list for the Credit Union Hero of the year.  The candidate winning the most online votes by May 17th will be honored at the America’s Credit Union Conference in New York this summer.

Posted in Around the NW, Community Impact, CU4Kids.