2012 National Awards Program Winners Have Direct Impact on Lives of Canadians
VANCOUVER, May 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central) announced the winners of its annual National Credit Union Awards Program at a gala event during its 2012 Canadian Conference for Credit Union Leaders in Vancouver, BC last night.
David MacLean, Board Director of Canadian Central presented awards to individuals and credit unions in four categories: community economic development, innovation, leadership by young credit union professionals, and acknowledged the lifetime contribution by a credit union system leader.
"Each year the level of community involvement, ingenuity and leadership that comes out of the credit union system is more incredible than the last," explained MacLean. "This annual event enables us to identify individuals and credit unions that are dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians in ways that are truly meaningful. Recognizing these achievements not only inspires us to continue the positive work but drives us to make improvements that better our system overall."
One such example is this year's National Credit Union Community Economic Development Award recipient, Alterna Savings and Credit Union. A strong supporter of small businesses, Alterna Savings developed a micro finance program to provide passionate entrepreneurs, who do not typically meet the lending criteria of most traditional financial institutions, the skills and resources they need to create a sustainable future for themselves, their families, and for the community. The program includes a series of integrated services such as financial planning, networking resources and marketing and promotional support that are designed to help bring success to the borrower's business. This is a highly successful program: since its launch Alterna Savings has granted over 400 loans totaling close to $2 million.
The National Credit Union Innovation Award is presented to credit unions that lead the way with innovations that strengthen credit unions and that may have application for the overall system. This year's award was presented to Synergy Credit Union for their innovative Account Opening Tool. This tool includes a full suite of personal and business accounts, and is used to streamline a once lengthy procedure to a more efficient, cost-effective operation. The benefit to members is that they spend less time filling out numerous forms, while receiving increased customized services based on their individual requirements.
This year, five credit union professionals were recognized as National Young Leaders to mark their exceptional efforts:
- Trevor Beaton, Manager, Wealth Services, Synergy Credit Union, SK
- Jeff Knutson, Branch Manager, First West Credit Union, BC
- Kirsty Reid, Manager, Wealth Management Services, First Credit Union, BC
- Purdeep Sangha, Director, CEO Projects and Initiatives, FirstOntario Credit Union, ON
- Lori Walsh, Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Solutions, Cornerstone Credit Union, SK
Kirsty Reid also 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.
The 2012 Credit Union Hall of Fame Award, which celebrates the achievements of lifetime contributors to the Canadian credit union system, was awarded to Edward Gebert. Mr. Gebert - a lifelong advocate of the credit union and co-operative system - is a true visionary leader whose work ethic and ingenuity led him to accomplish many significant changes in the credit union system. Most notably was playing a lead role in introducing Canada's first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and later, as president of Credit Union Electronic Transaction Services, he helped with the introduction of the debit card. Mr. Gebert also served on several boards in various capacities including: President and CEO at Co-operative Trust (now Concentra Financial); Director on the Board of Canadian Co-operative Credit Society (now Canadian Central); and was a member of Canadian Central's Chief Executive Officers Committee until his retirement in 1997. For his role in the introduction of the first ATM and on-line banking in Canada, and his lifelong commitment to co-operatives, Mr. Gebert received the Saskatchewan Co-operative Order of Merit Award in 1998.
About Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central)
Credit Union Central of Canada is the national trade association for the Canadian credit union system. Canada's credit union system is a vital competitor in the financial services industry. Canadian Central represents five provincial/regional Centrals and one Federation representing 368 credit unions with more than $140 billion in assets and serving 5.1 million members, outside of Quebec. For more information about Canada's credit union system and Canadian Central visit www.cucentral.ca.
For the seventh consecutive year, Canadians ranked credit unions first in overall Customer Service Excellence, among all financial institutions, surpassing all Canadian banks in Synovate Canada's annual Best Banking Awards. Credit unions also took sole honours in Values My Business and Branch Service Excellence. Credit unions tied for first among all financial institutions for Financial Planning and Advice; and Telephone Banking Excellence.
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Director, Trade Association Services