Credit Unions Introduced to New Community Impact Resources at MAXX 2018

Northwest Credit Union Foundation thanks donors for contributions, which have made new resources available to credit unions.

10/30/18

Credit union professionals who attended MAXX 2018 in Tacoma, Wash., earlier this month had the opportunity to hear about two important projects now underway – the Community Impact Reporting Tool and the Affordable Workforce Housing initiative.

The Northwest Credit Union Association launched the Community Impact Reporting Tool (CIRT) at MAXX. The customized software will enable credit unions to track data on community development, lending, social responsibility, charitable giving, and volunteerism. The collected data will help paint a clear and comprehensive picture of the story of Northwest credit unions’ powerful social impact on their communities throughout the region.

Sharee Adkins, Executive Director of the Foundation, presented CIRT at a MAXX breakout session.

“We are hoping for 100 percent participation from credit unions,” Adkins said. “The more data we collect, the stronger and more comprehensive the story is, which will help us magnify our unified credit union voice.”

CIRT is now available and free to use for all NWCUA members. Credit unions interested in signing up can do so online, and will be contacted with more information.

NWCUF at MAXX Convention

Laura Fenter, a 2018 Young Professional and Financial Service Representative with Numerica Credit Union, and Scott Plumb, a member of Numerica’s Board of Directors, work together on a Financial Reality Fair mock exercise during the Friends of the Foundation breakfast at MAXX in Tacoma on Oct. 17.

The Foundation also hosted a breakout session at MAXX about its Affordable Workforce Housing initiative. To assist credit unions in addressing this hurdle, the Foundation launched a grant program this summer, which will support credit unions across the region to plan and then implement strategies to tackle affordable workforce housing. A second phase of funding to support implementation of projects will be announced this winter.

“Credit unions are well positioned to leverage the resources needed to help tackle this critical issue,” Adkins said. “Our member credit unions want to step up and achieve measurable impact for their members and community in the area of affordable workforce housing, and so many are already making significant and exciting progress.”

During the session, four credit union leaders shared their perspectives on the unique challenges and opportunities credit unions communities across the region face. Those leaders included Larry Ellifritz, President and CEO of Consolidated Community CU in Portland, Jim Morrell, President and CEO of Peninsula CU in Shelton, Wash., Chad Olney, President and CEO of Pacific Crest Federal CU in Klamath Falls, Ore., and John Zmolek, President and CEO of Verity CU in Seattle and NWCUA’s newly appointed Board Chair.

“In Seattle, there are skyrocketing home prices,” Zmolek told attendees. “They’re in the $700,000-range. Credit unions have to think about innovative approaches for first-time homebuyers, because it isn’t realistic to expect them to ever save enough for a 20 percent down payment.”

In southern Oregon, there is a lack of affordable workforce housing inventory, said Olney. “There’s no middle ground for housing. We need to increase the supply. And the cost for building materials is on the rise.”

NWCUF at MAXX Convention main hall

Attendees gather for the Friends of the Foundation breakfast at MAXX in Tacoma on Oct. 17.

Adkins encouraged credit unions to contact her with questions or to discuss how credit unions and the Foundation can partner to address the unique affordable workforce housing challenges facing communities across the region.

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation at MAXX

MAXX attendees also attended the popular annual Northwest Credit Union Foundation donor appreciation breakfast, where they learned more about Financial Reality Fairs and heard from several speakers, including Northwest Credit Union Association President and CEO, Troy Stang, Adkins, and the Foundation’s outgoing Chair, Barbara Mathey. Mathey is President and CEO of IBEW & United Workers Federal Credit Union.

At the breakfast, Stang thanked credit unions for the critical role they play in making the Foundation a success.

“I want to thank the Northwest Credit Union Foundation’s strongest and most important supporters, Fairshare Contributing Credit Unions, who annually commit to ensuring scholarships, financial education, affordable workforce housing, and much more, become a reality,” Stang said. “I also want to thank the Friends of the Foundation. Everyone in this room has contributed to the ongoing growth and success of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation, and we couldn’t do it without you.”

Donors make it possible for the NWCUF to do the work it does, including contributing funds for credit union professional development grants and scholarships, giving money to those who affected by natural disasters, helping to fund the affordable workforce housing initiative grants, CIRT, and Financial Reality Fairs.