Louise Herring Award Winners Find Their Niche

Michigan First CU and Bridge CU targeted opposite ends of the member spectrum.

March 7, 2014

Michigan First Credit Union and Bridge Credit Union targeted opposite ends of the member spectrum when designing their niche initiatives. But each earned national Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service first-place awards after producing enviable results.

Michigan First’s “First Gear” program hits the sought-after “young adult” demographic, helping members ages 17 to 25 learn how to manage their accounts. It sets the stage for a lifelong relationship with the $675 million asset credit union in Lathrop Village.

First Gear emphasizes fun and accessibility, offering benefits like “Oops Forgiveness”—overdraft fee rebates—as well as a free debit card with unlimited ATM withdrawals, free checking and online bill pay, and a 1% discount on auto loan rates. The program has brought in more than 3,600 members and generated 5,340 new accounts.

Bridge Credit Union created ConnectPlus, a preferred retiree benefits program, to recognize older members’ loyalty to the $43 million credit union in Columbus, Ohio. It attracted 137 new members in the program’s first year.

ConnectPlus offers discounted rates on loans, higher interest rates on share certificates, loan deferral, free checks, unlimited $25 new member referral awards, and access to a credit union personal assistant.

For information on national Louise Herring Award and Dora Maxwell Award winners, visit