news.cuna.org/articles/107355-community-cus-of-the-year

Community CUs of the Year

CUNA conference honors CUs that go the extra mile to serve their communities.

August 31, 2015

Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, N.Y., and AmeriCU Credit Union in Rome, N.Y., are experts at serving their communities.

CUNA presented Alternatives Federal with the 2014 Community Credit Union of the Year Award for credit unions with less than $250 million in assets, while AmeriCU was honored for credit unions with more than $250 million in assets.

At Alternatives Federal:

  • Staff members use three hours of paid time each month to volunteer in the community.
  • A free tax preparation program helps members maximize their tax refunds. It includes one-on-one counseling with members about the importance of credit scores, and how to improve them.
  • Business CENTS, a member business lending program that provides a variety of services such as classes, coaching, and networking to promote and sustain small businesses.

“In our opinion, to be a successful community credit union requires an understanding of the financial needs of potential members and the development of products and delivery systems which are customized to the target market,” says Karl Graham, Alternatives Federal’s director of community relations and development. “Doing so will help the credit union occupy a unique position in the mind’s eye of potential members in the community.”

At AmeriCU:

  • Widespread installation and increased use of “Big Blue” ATM kiosks, which can handle advanced transactions such as mortgage payments, and a marketing initiative that has greatly increased mobile banking use.
  • “Ryan Buys a House,” which documents a real AmeriCU member going through the home-buying process. The credit union captured Ryan’s experiences and insights through videos and other resources to make the process less stressful for first-time buyers.
  • “SwitchAgent,” a secure and automated tool that makes it easy for members to transfer accounts from other financial institutions.

“Our members and communities are at the heart of AmeriCU’s continued growth and success,” says Erin Reed, marketing coordinator. “AmeriCU and our employees support the charities and causes that are important to our communities. It takes a great deal of extra time, effort, and dedication to accomplish that.”

Coming soon: Credit Union Magazine will include interviews with 2015 Community Credit Union of the Year winners, who will receive their awards during ceremonies later this month at the CUNA Community Credit Union Conference/The Federation 2015 Annual Conference.