MADISON, Wis.-CUNA & Affiliates has named nine top Bridge Award winners in its annual excellence in member communications contest, including Weyerhaeuser Employees Credit Union in Longview, Wash., which won first place for its newsletter "The Shareholder."
Weyerhaeuser ECU, competing in the newsletter category for CUs with $30 million in assets or more, shared the spotlight with CITIES Credit Union of St. Paul, Minn., ($30 million or less in assets) which won first place for its "Cities Talk" newsletter.
WECU Marketing Vice President Heather Snyder, Editor Sharon Stark, a veteran financial writer of 30 years who also writes a syndicated column, and Art Director Tom Senatori contributed to putting out "The Shareholder."
WECU has put out "The Shareholder" quarterly in its present format for 10 years, and has won four awards since 1991 for it.
"We were excited to hear we'd won," Snyder said. "Our newsletter really has an educational focus. Our primary goal with the newsletter is not to sell products or services, but instead to try to educate our members as financial consumers."
WECU President/CEO Bob Kane congratulated everybody who worked on the newsletter for the $281 million asset, 42,000 member CU.
"Our marketing department works very hard to educate our members on the benefits of credit union membership," Kane said. "Complicating this communication effort is the task of getting our message across to a national membership. Receiving recognition from CUNA as a winner of their Bridge Award reinforces that we are doing the right things for our members and our credit union."
CITIES CU President/CEO Eileen Fourre, who also edits the award winning "Cities Talk" newsletter, said it provides a good communications and educational tool, as well as a way to recognize members who have been in the spotlight for whatever reason. Fourre said it is a newsworthy publication that contains such things as consumer tips and scam alerts, as well as information about the CU's various products.
"I was at the league office for committee meetings, when they told me we had won. I was elated," Fourr'e said. CCU had placed second in the award competition last year. The writing is done by consultant Barbara Leuthe, who has an extensive background in CU writing. CCU has almost 6,000 members and $21 million in assets.
Coming in second and third, respectively, after CITIES CU among CUs with less than $30 million in assets were: Dallas County Employees CU, Texas, for "Dollars and Sense"; and Arizona Holsum Credit Union in Phoenix for "Small Talk."
Coming in second and third, respectively, after Weyerhaeuser among larger credit unions were: Washington State Employees Credit Union, Olympia, with "Prime Lines"; and Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Brainard, with "News Bites."
Top winners in the member education category included: Kitsap Federal Credit Union, Bremerton, Wash., first place for a variety of communications methods it uses in emergency communications; Reading Works Federal Credit Union, Wyomissing, Pa., second place for its New Member Materials Packet; and State Employees Credit Union of (Baltimore) Maryland, third place for its computer conversion communications program.
This year's finals judge was Chris Hill, a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer and editor. CUNA officials plan to hand out Bridge Awards to the nine first-, second- and third-place winners (in the three categories) at the awards dinner at CUNA's Government Affairs Conference in Washington in February. -