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BALTIMORE – Alonzo Weatherby had a tough decision to make when he was offered a management position at Patelco Credit Union. The Morehouse College graduate and former intern with the African American Credit Union Coalition’s Reaching Toward the Future internship program got the chance to work at 1st Choice Credit Union last summer. “It ultimately came down to the cost of living, it costs much more to live in San Francisco,” Weatherby said, who decided on a sales and support position at Weyerhaeuser Co., a $19 billion international forest products company. In its fifth year, the AACUC’s internship program has steadily grown in participants and the number of credit unions and industry partners wanting to hire college students for the summer. Last year, 26 students interned and more than 25 applications have already been received for this summer’s program, said Bert Hash, AACUC internship committee chairman and president/CEO of Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore, Inc. Founded in 1999, the AACUC has 400 members who carry out the mission of increasing the number of African-Americans in the movement. “I’ve been in the financial services industry for 33 years and I continue to see the benefits of a diverse workplace,” Hash said. “The internship program will be beneficial over time because it brings diversity to the movement.” Weatherby, 22, who graduated from Morehouse last spring, worked at a 1st Choice CU hospital branch. In addition to a number of duties, he cashed checks on paydays for hospital staff and processed deposits and withdrawals. From his experience at 1st Choice, Weatherby said he’s been able to fine-tune his people skills and the ability to work with people from all walks of life. Those skills have come in handy at his current job as he works closely with representatives from such clients as Home Depot and Lowe’s. “At 1st Choice, I interacted with a diverse group of people, a wide range of emotions especially during loan approvals,” Weatherby said. “Good interaction with people leaves a lasting impression and that’s helped me to interact with people from different backgrounds.” 1st Choice President/CEO Sheilah Montgomery said Weatherby volunteered to help in a number of areas, took extra and last-minute work, which “was a plus because we’re a small,” with 11 employees and 7,500 members. “He took the time to listen to problems members may have had and made sure they had answers before they walked out the door,” Montgomery said. Navy Federal Credit Union has hosted several AACUC interns over the past few years including Wesley Williams, a Morgan State University student scheduled to graduate this spring. Williams has accepted an accounting position with Ernst & Young. He said the firm will pay expenses to earn his Master of Science in accounting from the University of Notre Dame this year. Williams said he was very familiar with credit unions, having been exposed to them in Trinidad, his native country. The married, “older than average” college student has also worked at an accounting firm and at in a bank’s credit card division. Yet, Navy Federal being the largest credit union in the world, “broke all the rules of corporate America.” “I walked in expecting one type of environment but was pleasantly surprised with the stress-free, business casual environment,” Williams said. “There were genuinely nice people here, many who’ve been at the credit union for 15 years or more.” Williams spent most of last summer’s internship at Navy Federal in the operations department, where he was able to communicate with members, send hard copies of documents for loan approvals and was given the opportunity to make suggestions on where the $20 billion credit union could make improvements. “We try to expose our interns to high-level operations and not make it a gopher experience,” said Drew Ryan, Navy FCU assistant vice president, credit and loan production and AACUC internship committee vice chair. “In each of the areas Wesley worked, vice presidents came back and told me that were extremely pleased with his work ethic.” Williams also spent time in the accounting department, did product research, went through a mortgage loan training session and worked on a leasing operation project for Navy Financial, the credit union’s CUSO. From his Navy Federal experience, Williams said he was reacquainted with the “intricacies of relationship hierarchies” and the politics of a company’s workplace. “I certainly learned how to read between the lines, not just what’s being said,” Williams said. “Everyone I approached with questions was helpful and willing.” Williams said he has not ruled out working for a credit union, convinced of its unique appeal. “Everyone I encountered made sure the members’ needs were put first,” he said. “I saw firsthand how management works to make Navy a stress-free place to work.” [email protected]

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