"One word to describe Sarah is ‘dynamo,’” said John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and president of the Madison, Wis.-based The ProCon Group. “Sarah is one of the most impressive, assertive, outgoing personalities in the entire credit union movement.”
Gregoire added, “Her energy knows no bounds, helping her become a major contributor to the success of the Credit Unions for Kids program and building shared branching in to a powerhouse delivery system.”
After beginning her credit union career at CUNA in 1983, Canepa Bang filled positions at the Oregon Credit Union League and Massachusetts Credit Union League. She was named CEO of shared branching provider FSCC in 1999. During her tenure, she grew the fledgling organization into one of the most successful credit union CUSOs in the nation, according to the NCUF.
Under her leadership, FSCC more than quadrupled in the number of credit unions, branches, and states involved in shared branching resulting in thousands of financial access points for members, NCUF said. FSCC’s technology also expanded to include full-service kiosks, mobile banking, call centers, disaster recovery, and remote deposit capture during Canepa Bang’s tenure.
In 2007, the company hit another milestone when it implemented shared branching services on more than 2,200 Vcom kiosks inside select 7-Eleven stores. In January 2012, FSCC merged into CO-OP Financial Services to unite the two networks.
"Sarah has been the credit union system's most ardent ambassador for shared branching, as well as its staunchest task master,” said Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
Canepa Bang is also a longtime supporter of the Credit Unions for Kids program and was one of the key founders of the program while at the Oregon league, the NCUF said. She also played an instrumental part in getting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to pick up the CU4Kids program and help it become a national program in 1997.
In 2006, she was named to the board of the Credit Union Miracle Day Foundation and was also appointed to the Credit Unions for Kids National Advisory Board for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
“In her more than 25 years of commitment to hospitalized children, Sarah has always put the kids first, truly embodying the credit union spirit and philosophy of ‘people helping people,’” said John Lauck, president/CEO of Children’s Miracle Network.
Canepa Bang is also involved with the World Council of Credit Unions and Defense Credit Union Council. In 2011, WOCCU named her one of their top seven people who are making a difference in supporting the world council.
"Her international involvement may be unsurpassed in the credit union arena,” said Troy Stang, president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “Whether it is working with the World Council in China and Scotland or her work in advancing shared branching in Puerto Rico, Sarah has answered the call. These are just a few examples of her many contributions in advancing the credit union philosophy through action around the world.”
The award is one of four Herb Wegner Memorial awards that will be presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 24, 2014. The event coincides with CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference.
The NCUF said online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the foundation’s website.