The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) recognized Maurice R. Smith as the 2019 Recipient of the AACUC Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award at its 21st Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C.
He has been devoted to the credit union movement for more than 35 years. Committed to his beliefs, Smith is self-proclaimed credit union “nerd” and supporter of the movement’s ideals.
He believes a business model that empowers its members to engage in democratic, self-help with strong principles that exceed socioeconomic status and class are superior to other business types.
“I am humbled,” Smith says. “To be mentioned in a sentence with Pete Crear is a reward unto itself.
“The reason this is called a ‘credit union movement’ is because we move people and communities forward to better lives,” he continues. “It means something to people we serve. I thank you all for being a part of the work we have before us. I’m excited about what comes next because the world needs us.”
Earlier this year Smith proposed adding diversity and inclusion as an eighth cooperative principle.
He leads a Diversity and Inclusion Ad Hoc Working Group of credit union leaders tasked with taking an honest look at the credit union movement through this lens.
“We need to hold each other accountable for equality, equity, and opportunity for members, volunteers, and credit union professionals,” Smith says. “It must be everywhere from the grassroots of our communities to the top of our credit unions or we will not fully serve our purpose.”