For the first time, the National Credit Union Foundation has recognized the careers of four individuals in one year.
Sarah Canepa Bang, former CEO of the Financial Service Centers Cooperative and current chief strategy officer at CO-OP Shared Branching, was recognized with an award for Individual Achievement. Tim Haegelin, retired CEO from the $419 million Generations Federal Credit Union in San Antonio, Texas, and Jim McCormack, CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, will share Lifetime Achievement honors at the NCUF’s awards dinner on Feb. 24, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 24, 2014.
This year’s fourth Wegner winner had not been named as of press time.
Bang and Haegelin were recognized, in part, for their roles in helping to establish and build CU4Kids, an industry-wide charity effort.
The NCUF lauded Haegelin for cofounding CU4Kids in 1986. The charity began with a call from Haegelin’s desk, the foundation said.
In 1986, a public relations director for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital reached out to Haegelin for help in promoting a charity event for the hospital. Haegelin took the request to heart, eventually getting all of the city’s credit unions involved. From there, he and others, including Canepa Bang, were able to grow the effort.
At last count, CU4Kids has raised more than $100 million dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country, the Foundation said.
Haegelin was hired by Generations as an assistant manager in 1980. He had previously been CEO of the Central Texas Catholic Credit Union from 1967 to 1979. By 1984, he was CEO at Generations, a position he held until his retirement in 2012.
In all, Haegelin spent 49 years working in credit unions, the Foundation noted.
“Tim’s list of achievements is outstanding,” Gregoire said. “He might not be a household name but his resume and body of work is so significant the Wegner Awards Selection Committee is proud to bring him forward as a Lifetime Achievement winner.”
The Foundation also cited Haegelin’s work with the City of San Antonio and Goodwill Industries to open branches that would serve underserved residents, as well as setting up Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.
“Generations FCU’s alliance with Goodwill helps those in need achieve their financial goals through a variety of monetary services that are not usually accessible to them,” said Bob Dugas, former CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio.
The NCUF also recognized Canepa Bang’s longtime support of CU4Kids, crediting her with helping to get the program started while at the Credit Union Association of Oregon, which has since merged with the Washington League in January 2011 to form the Northwest Credit Union Association.
Canepa-Bang played an instrumental part in getting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to pick up the CU4Kids program, the foundation said, and helped it become a national program in 1997. Additionally, 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. She continues to co-host the CU4K wine auction fund raiser in the Pacific Northwest.
“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.
The NCUF said Canepa Bang’s 30-year credit union career has included work with CUNA as well as various credit union leagues before she became the most recognizable and tireless advocate for credit union shared branching through her position as CEO and chief spokesman for FSCC.
Under Canepa Bang’s leadership, shared branching evolved from a quaint innovation to a significant member access channel. The cooperative helped credit unions compete with bank branches and also played a significant role in account access during catastrophes, both natural and man-made.
“One word to describe Sarah is dynamo,” said John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and president of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis. “Sarah is one of the most impressive, assertive, outgoing personalities in the entire credit union movement. 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.”
The NCUF also recognized Canepa Bang for establishing, a two-year associate degree program in credit union management through Mt. Hood Community College in 1995. She also initiated Loans Today, one of the first 24/7 lending call centers in the nation.
The NCUF recognized McCormack, who has worked at Pennsylvania league since 1981, for helping to create and foster the Credit Union Better Choice program. Better Choice established a public/private partnership among 72 Pennsylvania credit unions, the state’s credit union regulator and state’s treasurer to bring a low cost credit union alternative to payday loans.
“His commitment to assisting consumers to attain a better quality of life is best demonstrated by his involvement in the creation of the Credit Union Better Choice program,” said Dick Ensweiler, CEO of the Cornerstone Credit Union League.
The NCUF also celebrated McCormack’s work to promote credit union membership statewide through the media and the iBelong campaign.
“Probably the hardest, most challenging and most rewarding job that Jim did was the iBelong campaign,” said Bruce Foulke, president/CEO of the $1.3 billion American Heritage Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia. “Because of the iBelong campaign, we have seen the awareness of credit unions grow exponentially. Members who were not aware of credit unions are now reaping the benefits of our products and services.”