Two Northwest Credit Unions Receive National CUNA Awards

Oregon State Credit Union’s Director of Community Education Anissa Arthenayake.

Last week, at the culmination of their Governmental Affairs Conference, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) honored two Northwest credit unions with national awards for outstanding community service and financial education. Mid Oregon Credit Union received a Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service honorable mention, and Oregon State Credit Union was awarded a first place Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award, as well as an honorable mention Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

Oregon State Credit Union won first place in adult financial education for teaching personal finance to inmates in Oregon State correctional institutions. The credit union developed an eight-week curriculum to teach inmates the fundamentals of managing money and making wise financial decisions.

Participants benefit both while they are incarcerated and after release. Financial challenges often weigh heavily on people recently released from incarceration, and are a driver of recidivism. Since 2006, Marion County’s recidivism rate has dropped from 36% to 21% due to a changing system and offering inmates education and support.

“The CUNA Desjardins award program is a great honor and a special recognition for our credit union,” said Anissa Arthenayake, Oregon State Credit Union’s director of community education. “Beyond this, we see it as an ideal forum for best practices in promoting financial education and the economic health of our member-owners and the communities we serve.”

“Our credit union has a very diversified demographic base,” Arthenayake continued. “Our educational programs are customized with each group’s needs in mind and the connections and relationships developed through that respected outreach extends us into unique markets — like that of our effective educational offerings in our state prison system.”

“It’s a special feeling to see the positive reactions, the recognized appreciation for our financial education programs and impact we are making on our communities,” added Arthenayake.

Mid Oregon Credit Union received a Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service honorable mention for their Pay it Forward initiative.

Oregon State Credit Union also received an honorable mention for youth financial education highlighting their work with the Boys & Girls Club’s High School Teen Center. The credit union focused on holistically impacting high school students, aiming to equip them in job skills, work experience and financial education. Topics and experiences included résumé building, wardrobe choices, interviewing skills, cash handling, customer service, and personal financial management.

Mid Oregon Credit Union received a Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service honorable mention for their Pay it Forward initiative. Pay it Forward supports local people and projects that deserve recognition for doing good in the community. Mid Oregon partners with a local energy company and local media to give honorees $500 and press coverage for their good works.

“We are honored to be recognized by CUNA for our 2013/14 Dora Maxwell entry, ‘Pay It Forward’,” said Kyle Frick, Mid Oregon’s vice president of marketing. “Our collaboration with the local NBC affiliate, KTVZ News Channel 21, has allowed us to shine a spotlight on great things people are doing in our community and facilitate additional support through awareness of their actions. With the help of our partner sponsors in the media, we are able to amplify a positive message that resonates in our communities, and fuels ideas and actions for even more positive outcomes.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Awards, CUNA.