CRMNEXT, Inc, a global CRM solution provider for financial services, was proud to announce the top ten honorees and winners of the 2021 Right On The Money Contest at a simulcast on Monday, September 13, 2021.
This contest—co-sponsored by CU Sol and America’s Credit Union Museum—seeks to recognize credit unions and community banks, and the leaders who help run them, for the phenomenal displays of ingenuity and innovation they are putting to work in the communities they serve. Ninety-eight nominations were submitted this year, more than doubling last year’s 47 total nominations.
“We were blown away by the number of nominations we saw this year and by the absolutely incredible work these institutions and individuals are doing in their communities,” said James Gilbert, Head of Marketing at CRMNEXT. “It was an honor to review all of the nominees and our judges really had their work cut out for them selecting the winners from our top 10 institutions and top 10 individuals. To say the work these folks are doing in their communities is astounding is an understatement.”
From the top 10 nominees selected by CRMNEXT, the judges for this year’s competition—Lauren Culp, Publisher & CEO of CUInsight.com; Michael Murdoch, CUDE & CCUFC, CUNA, Marketing Manager of Wauna Credit Union; Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors, and Senior Contributor at Forbes & Fintech Snark Tank; Chris Skinner, CEO, Finanser, best-selling Author; Denise Wymore, Marketing Manager at QCash Financial—selected their top three institutions and individuals based on the level of thoughtfulness provided in each nomination, the creativity and resourcefulness of each nominee, how the nominees supported their communities outside of the box, and the supporting documentation for each submission.
“So much innovation exists in credit unions, both at the organizational and individual level. It’s such an honor to be a judge involved in reading the nominations and hearing the incredible stories,” judge Lauren Culp said. “The CRMNEXT Right On The Money Contest truly recognizes the best of the best in our industry.”
The top three Institutions and Individuals will receive prizes including a monetary gift, a custom Right On The Money trophy, a custom 2021 Right On The Money wrestling belt (1st prize), a paver at America’s Credit Union Museum (1stprize), and industry recognition. The top ten Institutions and Individuals will also be recognized in the Credit Union Museum Hall of Fame and will be included in CRMNEXT’s 2021 Right On The Money Superheroes Among Us publication.
The Winners and Top 10 Institution and Individual Nominees for the 2021 Right On The Money Contest are:
1st Place: Guadalupe Credit Union
2nd Place: Tongass Federal Credit Union
3rd Place: Visions Federal Credit Union
Border Federal Credit Union
Central Valley Community Bank
Orange County’s Credit Union
Redwood Credit Union
RelyOn Credit Union
San Diego County Credit Union
1st Place: Eric Pointer, President & CEO at Credit Union of Texas
2nd Place: Whitney Anderson-Harrell, Chief Community Development Officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
3rd Place: Nanci Wilson, Marketing & Community Outreach Officer at University Federal Credit Union
Kathy Antongiovanni, AVP, Member Support Services at Coast Central Credit Union
Danielle Benn, Member Advocate at Alliant Credit Union
Robert Glore, President & CEO at Combined Employees Credit Union
Joumana Mcdad, Executive VP, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at One Detroit Credit Union
Matt Noska, SVP of Human Resources at Central Minnesota Credit Union
Bill Snider, Vice President, Digital Strategy & Marketing at Clearview Federal Credit Union
Sandi Widdel, Branch Manager at North Star Community Credit Union
“We’re extremely proud of this award that recognizes Guadalupe Credit Union’s commitment to financial empowerment, which is the cornerstone of everything we do,” said Winona Nava, Guadalupe Credit Union President/CEO. “Our culture reflects a passion for helping others, and a drive to provide the tools and skills for the attainment of personal financial goals. We provide free financial coaching in the communities we serve for employees, members, and non-members. This award is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of our employees who continually strive to improve the financial lives of those they serve. GCU is also blessed to have a Board of Directors that ensures that all decisions they make align with our mission of providing financial empowerment in the communities we serve.”
One of the programs highlighted in Guadalupe Credit Union’s nomination was their initiative to provide a Certified Financial Coach, free of charge, at each of their branches to help their staff and members get on a path to financial empowerment. The credit union also offers a Pay Yourself First Certificate of Deposit in conjunction with loans that allow members to deposit 10% of their loan payment into a CD that matures when the loan is paid, with members able to withdraw during the term of the loan for an emergency if they meet with a financial coach to discuss.
For second place winner Tongass Federal Credit Union, the commitment to their members matters most. The credit union operates branches and microsites in remote Alaska to support underserved local villages with as few as 380 residents.
“We are honored to have been selected as 2nd place winner in the Right On The Money Contest!” remarked Helen Mickel, President/CEO of Tongass Federal Credit Union. “TFCU is a mission-focused credit union where our people are helping people in person, in remote Alaskan coastal villages. We are committed to serving the underserved through financial education initiatives and local services in our community microsites. As a community development credit union, we work hard to help communities and people grow and thrive.”
“I was really impressed what Tongass is doing with microsites,” said judge Ron Shevlin. “This is a relatively small credit union in a fairly rural area, and we don’t often think of them as being particularly innovative, but I think Tongass bucked the trend and proved that you can be very creative despite their size and remote location.”
Third place winner Visions Federal Credit Union stood out with their Little Heroes initiative which recognizes children aged 12 and younger who are making positive impacts in their communities, with Visions FCU offering help with each Little Hero’s cause. This is the newest feature of Visions’ Kirby Kangaroo program which comes with a youth savings account and special gifts for deposits over $5, with participating children getting access to everything the credit union has to offer as they grow.
“Being nominated, and selected as a 3rd place winner, in the Right On The Money contest is an honor,” Visions Federal Credit Union AVP of Marketing Mandy DeHate said. “We strive to offer the most valuable products and programs to all our members and support the communities where they live. Little Heroes was inspired by a program we created in 2020 called Heart of a Hero which recognized those supporting their neighbors through the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope through programs like this, we can serve as an inspiration and help foster the spread of kindness.”
Visions Federal Credit Union was nominated for the 2021 Right On The Money Contest by Jack Henry. Shanon McLachlan, vice president of Jack Henry and president of Symitar, said, “Like many of our clients on this list, Visions is a strong example of how credit unions can make such a substantial impact in the lives of its members, employees, businesses, and communities they serve. We’re proud to partner with a credit union that makes financial services and education accessible to everyone. Visions delivers the strength and resources of the largest financial institutions with the care of the neighbor, which is the true embodiment of our industry’s ‘people helping people’ ethos and one of many reasons why they deserve this recognition. Congratulations to all of the credit unions and individuals recognized this year.”
Individual first place winner Eric Pointer, CEO of Credit Union of Texas, championed a partnership with Streetside Showers, a nonprofit serving the local suburban homeless population, with Eric and his staff dedicating volunteer hours and donations to help the organization. In addition to his work with Streetside Showers, Mr. Pointer’s nomination stood out for his work in other areas of need most relevant to the communities CUTX serves, including domestic violence, special needs, food insecurity, and children’s advocacy.
“At Credit Union of Texas, our purpose is to make a difference in the communities we serve, and as our team’s leader, I strive to embody this principle in all that I do,” said Eric Pointer, President & CEO of Credit Union of Texas. “This commitment is also reflected in the teamwork exhibited by our employees and in the continued dedication of our board of directors. This award is a testament to our culture, and on behalf of our entire Credit Union of Texas family, I am delighted to accept the 2021 Right On The Money Individual Award.”
“One of the things that really impressed me about what Eric is doing with his organization is around focusing their programs on what their specific community needs were,” Shevlin said. “CUTX was really focused on things like suburban homelessness, domestic violence, special needs. These are things that are specific to that community, and I think Eric and his team should be recognized for understanding that and creating programs to focus on those specific needs.”
Second place winner Whitney Anderson-Harrell, chief community development officer of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, was praised for her innovative approach to financial education. Anderson-Harrell created virtual reality financial education fairs, a virtual reality program to fight unconscious bias, and the Financial 4.0 app.
“Looking at the nomination, it’s just program after program that Whitney has championed and has been working on. That’s really inspirational,” said Culp. “Whitney, you are such an inspiration. It’s so incredible to see all the work you’ve done. I know that there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into it.”
Nanci Wilson, Marketing & Community Outreach Officer at University Federal Credit Union in North Dakota, took third place in the individual category. Wilson launched the No Embarrassment Project to help women obtain feminine hygiene products, alongside other community driven initiatives for women. She also champions mental health awareness across the nation through her various speaking engagements.
“I just loved the chutzpah that came with this one,” judge Denise Wymore said of Nanci Wilson. “When she asked this question and they said ‘This is what women need,’ and the fact that she called it the No Embarrassment Project, it was a girl power thing. I absolutely love it.”
“This year has been challenging for everybody. But if you ever want a pick-me-up, follow Nanci on LinkedIn and Twitter and read her CUInsight articles because this woman is awesome,” judge Michael Murdoch said. “Everything she is doing is so inspirational and I am humbled to be judging her work. Congrats, Nanci!”
CRMNEXT, co-sponsors CU Sol and America’s Credit Union Museum, and the judges congratulate all of this year’s winners in the 2021 Right On The Money Contest, and we look forward to next year’s competition.
CRMNEXT, Inc., is the leading global CRM solution provider in financial services. A Gartner Magic Quadrant Challenger company, CRMNEXT picks up where traditional CRMs leave off. Their promise: simplify work, drive growth, and deliver on experience – for team members and customers alike. Eliminating artificial barriers between human and digital channels, CRMNEXT enables true innovation and omnichannel customer interactions from a single, unified platform. It’s CRM as it always should have been: easy to use across all departments, and highly scalable to best serve you and your teams. CRMNEXT’s growing global footprint has seen it help financial service organizations large and small to grow assets, improve relationships, increase profitability, and offer better service through innovation.
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