The National Credit Union Foundation has identified the winners of two of the three winners of Herb Wegner Awards for 2012.
So far, Invest in America, a marketing and promotion program run by a subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League, has won the foundation's Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program. And Tom Dorety, CEO of the 507,000-member Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, has been named as one of the winners of the foundation's Herb Wegner Award for Lifetime Achievement.
This will be the first time the NCUF has awarded two awards for lifetime achievement in the same year, the foundation said. The other award winner will be announced this week, the foundation added.
The NCUF will make the awards in 2012 at a special awards dinner that the foundation offers in conjunction with the CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington.
The Invest in America program got underway in was first late 2008 by CUcorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. CUcorp later changed into CU Solutions Group, a national marketing company that currently manages the program. Invest in America allows credit unions to band together to promote and support not only their own products and services but also those offered by collaborative American-based companies, such as General Motors or Sprint.
The program allows participating companies to give credit union members were given discounts to the companies. This drives membership growth and loyalty. The program has also grown to where it allows credit unions to add vehicle loans, increase debit and credit card transactions and balances and provides noninterest income opportunities. Nearly 3,000 credit unions nationwide, representing over 70% of credit union members, now support Invest in America.
“Rarely has the awards and nominating Committee collective scored a program so high,” said Bob Schumacher, NCUF awards and recognition committee chairman. The “Big Ticket” program is Invest in America's partnership with auto companies to both build new CU membership and loan volume. The partnership with U.S.-based companies such as GM also helps bring credit union members significant savings on new vehicles, the foundation said, reporting that through April 2011, over 400,000 vehicles have been sold, generating an estimated $6.4 billion in credit union vehicle loans.
Invest in America's membership rewards program discounts products and services members use every day, to increase credit unions’ card transactions and balances. “Our members benefit from the program as does our credit union,” said Anthony M. Carnarvon, CEO of Co-op Services Credit Union in Livonia, Mich., in the award announcement. “Invest in America provides a unique opportunity for us to remind our members of our great service and low rates.”
The lifetime achievement award to Dorety recognized his service and accomplishments as chairman of CUNA and the Filene Research Institute, among other accomplishments.
“When you look at the lifetime efforts of Tom’s, you realize that this is the perfect description of dedication, compassion and success within the credit union world,” said Bob Schumacher. “No matter what Tom does, it seems to turn into something good for someone else.”
Dorety served as chairman of CUNA from 2008-2009. During that time he helped build consensus with fellow board members and served on almost every major committee.
As chairman and a representative of one of the largest credit unions, Dorety was often times called upon to address various groups on behalf of all credit unions. He represented credit unions at congressional hearings, with state governments across the country and with competing trade groups. And in most cases, he was able to incorporate a personal story about a credit union member he knew who would be touched by the pending action, the foundation said.
“Tom stepped up to provide strong leadership during some of the most challenging times in the history of credit unions,” remarked Dan Mica, former president/CEO of CUNA in the award announcement. “It was his passion and ability to motivate people to action that stand out as defining characteristics of his incredible leadership. He built consensus when there was no consensus."
One element of Dorety's leadership that is relatively little known is his work with the National Action Response Program, a lobbying and education effort that CUNA launched to help defend state chartered credit unions and state-chartered CU positions on issues.
He has also played a key role in helping guide many industry initiatives, for example, the formation of both REAL Solutions and the i3 Group while Dorety served as chairman of the Filene Research Institute and the transformation of the Suncoast Trust Co. into MEMBERS Trust Co. Recognizing the growing need for trust services among credit unions, he saw the opportunity to transform the existing Suncoast Trust into a national company that could provide trust services for credit unions all over the country.
“This innovative and very credit union-oriented approach to expanding the reach of credit unions for their members is indicative of Tom’s ability to see an opportunity and also execute on that opportunity,” said Gary Oakland, CEO of BECU in Seattle in the award announcement.