ARLINGTON, Va. -- NAFCU's White Hat for 2006 political fundraising went to Members 1st Federal Credit Union for the fourth year in a row.
The White Hat goes to the member credit union that raises the most funds for NAFCU/PAC. This year Members 1st, led by NAFCU Board Member Bob Marquette, raised $25,122.63, NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker announced. NAFCU/PAC has grown in recent years, raising $191,873.53 in 2006.
Becker credits Marquette and Members 1st with motivating NAFCU members to get involved in the political process. "It's not a record for them," Becker said noting that Members 1st won last year with more than $80,000 raised. "What Bob wanted to do is set a goal and get others to participate and I think he's done that."
Marquette explained, "Our main goal in 2006 really wasn't winning the White Hat award. We had won three in a row and that was our goal." Members 1st sells NAFCU's PAC Pals in its branches and even ties it in with Toys for Tots at Christmas time, as well as offering employee cook outs and jeans and sneakers days for incentive. The manager of the branch that raised the most money for 2005 won a trip to NAFCU's Annual Conference in Hawaii this year.
Becker noted that despite Members 1st contributions falling off $55,000, NAFCU/PAC overall was only down $15,000 from the previous year, demonstrating that others are participating more. Becker said more NAFCU members have contributed to the political action committee in the last few years.
Marquette admitted, "When I confirmed with Fred we had won the White Hat award, I was kind of hoping we hadn't." The second place contender for the White Hat was Coastal Federal Credit Union at $11,898. Politics and money are a "fact of life" Marquette said, but credit unions really should think of political contributions as a way to "help reward our friends...If we wait until legislation has been submitted that's anti-credit union, that's too late." He said he and his staff visit regularly with their lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and in their districts. --firstname.lastname@example.org