NWCUA Honors 4 Individuals, 6 Credit Unions

A reposted Article from CU Today

BOISE, Idaho–The Northwest CU Association honored four outstanding professionals and six Northwest credit unions for their commitment to leadership, advocacy, cooperation, member service, and community impact.

“The level of collaboration and teamwork among all credit unions over the past year and a half is simply amazing,” said President/CEO Troy Stang. “I’ve been a credit union member my whole life and I know how powerful the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy is.”

NWCUA Morrison

Summit Icon

Honored with the “Summit Icon” for their “outstanding leadership and fierce dedication” to the movement were Mark Morrison, president and CEO of Arlington, Wash.-based MountainCrest Credit Union, and Shelli Bardsley, chief administrative officer at Idaho Central Credit Union in Chubbuck, Idaho.

NWCUA Bardsley

The NWCUA said Morrison has been part of the CU movement since 1978, when he got his first job as a teller. Through the years, he moved up the ranks, serving in roles across numerous departments before becoming CEO in 2011. His steady leadership and longtime commitment to the “People Helping People” mission make him a truly iconic leader, NWCUA noted.

“It’s a fantastic movement that you have. I love this industry,” said Morrison upon accepting his award. “It’s given so much to me, my family, and all the people I’ve worked with over the years.”

After more than four decades of service, Morrison will retire next year, but would like to stay involved in CUs.

Bardsley is closing in on 40 years of services and dedication to credit union, all of which were spent at Idaho Central Credit Union. Throughout her career, Bardsley worked hard to elevate the credit union’s workplace culture and talent acquisition. Idaho Central CU has earned the title of “Best Place to Work in Idaho” for the last 10 years, the NWCUA said.

Surrounded by family members who surprised her on stage, Bardsley tearfully thanked Kent Oram, Idaho Central president and CEO, for his leadership, the NWCUA reported. “Kent, you changed my life and you let me lead with my heart. And that’s what matters.”

NWCUA Morrell

Summit Advocate

The NWCUA also recognized Jim Morrell, president and CEO of Shelton, Washington-based Peninsula Credit Union as the 2021 Summit Advocate.

Morrell’s years-long focus on sharing the collective credit union story with elected officials and advocating on behalf of the Movement helped to move the needle on significant credit union priorities, the association said.

“This is one of the most important things we do — advocacy,” said Morrell during his acceptance speech. “If we want our members to be served with the financial services many people don’t get in other places…our influence and our stories make the difference, not only with legislators but with the people whose lives we impact.”

Young CU Leader of the Year

Hazelmae Overturf, senior manager of learning and development at BECU, was named the Young Credit Union Leader of the Year. In September, members of the association and BECU team surprised Overturf with the news by inviting her to a “Learning and Development” Zoom meeting, where her credit union colleagues, each took a moment to share their appreciation for her leadership, support, and passion for helping others.

“Thank you for allowing my heart to grow in larger forms than I could ever have imagined,” said Overturf. “This is just more fuel to continue doing what I’m doing and, just — thank you.”

CU Winners of Cooperation in Action

Four Oregon credit unions, Central Willamette, Consolidated Community, Point West, and Trailhead, received the Cooperation in Action award for distributing emergency grants to small businesses amid COVID-19.

According to the NWCUA, over a two-month period, the four of them worked together to provide nearly $1 million to 398 very small businesses — those with fewer than 25 employees, sole proprietorships, and rural and minority-owned businesses that were left out of federal COVID-19 relief packages. Thirty-five percent of these grants went to minority-owned businesses, and 66% were awarded to women, the NWCUA said.

Members on Main Street Award

Clarity Credit Union, based in Idaho, was recognized with the Members on Main Street award for its innovative credit improvement program called Progress in Credit (PIC).

“Through the PIC program, members are rewarded for good financial habits by earning lower interest rates on loans they’ve had for at least six months,” the NWCUA said. “Every quarter, Clarity checks members’ credit scores, and if they’ve increased by 40 or more points, interest rates on those loans are lowered automatically. This benefit is continuous, so the higher members’ credit scores become, the less they’ll pay in interest. Since implementing PIC, Clarity has helped its members improve their credit and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Community Impact Award

New this year, the NWCUA said, was the Community Impact award, which presented to Rogue Credit Union, Medford, Ore., for helping its community recover from the September 2020 Oregon wildfires.

“Immediately after the Almeda fire ripped through Southern Oregon, decimating hundreds of structures and displacing thousands, Rogue set up a wildfire relief fund through its foundation,” the NWCUA said. “In just two weeks, the fund raised more than $1 million. Those funds were then turned into grants, which were distributed to 24 area organizations providing recovery services and relief.”

Improving Lives

“Tonight is not just about presenting awards,” said Jennifer Wagner, NWCUA’s EVP/chief advocacy officer, who served as Summit Awards co-host. “This is about calling attention to the power credit unions have to significantly improve the lives of millions. It’s about telling the collective credit union impact story.”

Posted in NWCUA in the News.