Awards celebrate excellence in credit union system

    OTTAWA, May 8 /CNW/ - Credit Union Central of Canada presented its annual
National Credit Union Awards for outstanding achievement during a ceremony
Wednesday night that concluded its annual conference.
    Because of the quality of this year's entries, the judges selected two
winners for the 2008 Community Economic Development Award - Coast Capital
Savings of Surrey, B.C. and Vancity Credit Union of Vancouver.
    Coast Capital was honoured for its support of a program called the
Quality of Life Challenge that brings diverse partners together to generate
long-lasting solutions that prevent and reduce poverty in Victoria. It has
committed $500,000 and many hours from employees to this program that has made
a significant contribution to increasing incomes, providing affordable housing
and encouraging community engagement.
    Vancity received recognition for its efforts at addressing the lack of
affordable housing and the difficulty of owning a home in the Vancouver area.
Its program, Facing Poverty: Affordable Housing and Home Ownership, has
focused on education, products and services, advocacy and working with
community groups.
    Examples of the activities include: home ownership readiness workshops
and an innovative mortgage that offers a 20 per cent down payment loan with no
interest payments for 10 years and a low rate on the remaining 80 per cent.
These "springboard mortgages" have allowed 16 families to move from assisted
housing into their own homes.
    Coast Capital was also selected as the winner of the 2008 National Credit
Union Innovation Award for its use of Julie - the Online Greeter(TM) as part
of a redesign of its website. Julie provides visitors helpful information in
an entertaining way. You can see Julie, played by actress Jackie Blackmore, at
    The website also has many changes designed to improve customer service.
It integrates in the online environment a new, open-design concept now
exhibited in Coast Capital Savings' branches. The changes, including Julie,
have resulted in increased traffic and longer visits.
    Four young credit union professionals were recognized as National Young

    -  Terry Moore, Director, Marketing Communications, Credit Union
       Atlantic, Halifax
    -  Tara McKeown, Branch Manager, Affinity Credit Union, Saskatoon
    -  Stephanie Wiens, Senior Community Account Manager, Assiniboine Credit
       Union, Winnipeg
    -  David Lanphear, Assistant Vice-President, Investment Services,
       Envision Financial, Langley, B.C.

    Lanphear received the National Young Leaders Award, which provides a
$10,000 scholarship to cover tuition and travel costs to attend a leadership
development program at a university in Canada.
    Wayne Nygren, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Credit
Union Central of British Columbia, was inducted into the Canadian Credit Union
Hall of Fame in recognition of his more than 35 years service to the credit
union system. He was CEO of B.C. Central from 1985 until April, 2006. He was a
director of Canadian Central from 1988 until 2006.

    About the credit union system:

    There are 465 credit unions affiliated with Credit Union Central of
Canada. They have more than five million members and assets of more than
$104 billion. The credit union system is a three-tier structure of local,
provincial and national organizations. Local credit unions operate
autonomously and are controlled by their members. Credit unions are the
primary shareholder members of provincial Centrals. The provincial Centrals
are in turn the primary shareholder members of Credit Union Central of Canada,
which functions as the system's national trade association and services
provider. For more information about Canada's credit unions, check out

For further information:

For further information: Art Chamberlain, Manager, Media and Public
Relations, (416) 232-3466,

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