BALTIMORE -- This year marked several milestones for the African-American Credit Union Coalition and the group said it plans to stay on track to do even more over the next year.
For starters, 108 members joined the AACUC this year. The coalition, under the guidance of Hubert Hoosman, AACUC treasurer and president/CEO of Vantage Credit Union in Bridgeton, Mo., has encouraged credit unions and others in the industry to raise nearly $1 million towards the building of a national memorial that will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hoosman is convinced the industry can raise another $1 million towards the memorial, which is scheduled to open in 2008. Working with the World Council of Credit Unions, for the second consecutive year, the AACUC will provide funding for African credit unions to participate in the African Congress in Kenya Oct. 30-Nov. 2.
The AACUC's internship program continues to thrive while mentoring smaller credit unions remains a mainstay of the group's mission. Three college students were awarded the coalition's Pete Crear Scholarships totaling $6,000 bringing the total to 12 students who have received the financial assistance over the years.
As another part of its mentoring mission, the AACUC identified two "rising stars" in the industry for their leadership and innovation: Zachary Irwin, vice president of marketing at Police FCU in Washington and Mark Brantley, the "youngest" director on New York-based Municipal Credit Union's board.
The AACUC also elected a new member to its board--Melinda Edmunds, vice president of branch and internal services at Congressional FCU taking the place of Michael Hale, one of the group's founders and president/CEO of Andrews FCU, who chose not to run for re-election. Sheilah Montgomery, president/CEO of 1st Choice Credit Union, and who was elected the first president of AACUC, recently continued her board service and will now serves as secretary. Helen Godfrey-Smith, president/CEO of Shreveport FCU and instrumental in collaborating with others in assisting credit unions impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, was also re-elected. Former AACUC Vice Chair Barbara Stephens, president/CEO of Houston Municipal Employees FCU, became chairperson.
This year also marked the first time the AACUC awarded two industry leaders with its Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year's recipient, Leroy Nesbit, a board member at Dort FCU, was not able to make the ceremony in 2006 because he was undergoing a kidney transplant at the time. In Baltimore, the venerable leader was all smiles
and in good spirits as he reconnected with those who missed him.
As evident of the growing collaboration, AACUC had more than a dozen industry vendors and credit unions that signed on to sponsor this year's conference.
"This organization is growing and thriving and we're making things happen," said Bob Harvey, outgoing AACUC chairperson and president/CEO of Seattle Metropolitan CU. "AACUC has found its place."