news.cuna.org/articles/111756-making-the-community-a-better-place

Making the community a better place

BayPort CU’s efforts include bringing grocery store to a food desert.

January 31, 2017

BayPort Credit Union received the Community Credit Union of the Year Award for credit unions with more than $250 million in assets during the CUNA Community Credit Union Conference. Monte Crowl, vice president of marketing at the $1.5 billion asset credit union in Newport News, Va., recently discussed the impact the credit union has on the community with Credit Union Magazine.

CU Mag: How can you best demonstrate your value as a community credit union?

Crowl: It means taking an active role in the lives of the people you serve by providing them the tools, education, and volunteer assistance to make the entire community a better place to live.

CU Mag: How does BayPort ensure it maximizes its impact?

Crowl: We serve the entire community, but have our ears open all the time to priorities and initiatives that various cities and municipalities have on their agendas. We’ve found it valuable to team up with other organizations and leverage our resources together rather than trying to develop an idea by ourselves in a vacuum.

CU Mag: BayPort played a role in bringing a grocery store to an unserved area. Why was that a priority?

Crowl: We partnered with the city of Newport News, a grocer, and an ex-NFL player to create a shopping plaza in a food desert. The city had attempted—unsuccessfully—to attract a big-box grocery chain in this area since 2005. When the city found the grocer and his vision to provide fresh food to this part of town, it needed a financial partner to create an anchor of stability in the project. The asked BayPort.

This type of project is what a credit union is supposed to be about: People helping people. With financial education at the forefront, the grocery store space included a community room specifically for events that draw people together in purposeful ways. We’re excited about the opportunities to provide financial education and services to residents in that community.

CU Mag: What do you consider your greatest success when it comes to serving the community?

Crowl: Jim’s Local Market is a project dear to my heart because of the long-term good that will have a positive impact on generations in that neighborhood. BayPort’s philosophy of serving goes beyond simply writing a check to local charities.

CU Mag: How has the credit union benefited from community involvement?

Crowl: Because of our strong community presence, BayPort is known for being “everywhere.” Our staff volunteers throughout the year in numerous capacities and is always ready to lend a helping hand. I think it’s our commitment to the community that really makes a difference. I hear story after story of how BayPort helped here and there. It’s like a ripple effect in the community. Because of the heart we display in our volunteer efforts, the credit union benefits.