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Three credit unions have made the top 10 cut of best in the nation for benefits.Credit Union West, Knoxville TVA Employees CU and Summit Federal Credit Union have been selected as one of the Principal Group’s 10 best companies for employee financial security.“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the Principal 10 best companies,” said Steve Becker, CEO at Credit Union West. “With the financial problems most organizations are facing, it’s easy to take away benefits. But we believe that’s not the best approach in the long run.”All 10 companies were recognized for their strong commitment to employee benefits and financial security. In addition, the firms were honored for understanding the direct connection between strong benefits, a strong workforce and a strong bottom line-in the best and worst of times.Knoxville TVA Employees CU earned accolades for its customized, personal benefits approach.“There were three things that particularly struck the judges this year. One was that they still have a defined-benefit plan. That’s becoming increasingly unusual both among the competitors as well of course as in the economy generally. The second is that they have a very strong health insurance plan and a lot of the competitors did but we thought theirs was particularly strong. Given the cost of health insurance nationally, that’s a big issue. And finally, they have opportunities for one-on-one interface between a financial adviser and employees. They really help employees walk through what financial security means,” said 10 best judge and National Center for Employee Ownership Executive Director/Founder Corey Rosen.Summit Federal Credit Union, with locations in Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y., was also singled out for its commitment to offering employees a generous benefit package that focuses on health care.“It’s a terrific honor to be selected as one of the Principal 10 best companies,” said Summit FCU President/CEO Michael Vadala. “We truly care about every one of our employees by valuing their talent, loyalty and dedication to the organization. We want our employees and their families to have a comfortable standard of living, providing the benefits that help them throughout their lives. These benefits are a key element that helps us to maintain our status as a world-class employer when it comes to employee satisfaction levels.”The credit union’s benefits offerings include 88% employer-paid medical insurance premiums for employees and dependents, a $250 monthly payroll contribution to full-time employees who use another medical plan through a spouse or partner, a 401(k) plan with an employer match of 50%, up to 4% of pay deferred with an average employee deferral of 5.6% and 100% employer-paid premiums for long-term and short-term disability insurance.“They don’t just say they care about their employees, they really mean it, as evidenced by their health care programs,” said David Wray, president of the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America and 10 best judge. “Even in these times they have made a great commitment to the health of their employees. I mean, you can’t do anything but stand up and applaud them for their efforts.”A commitment to helping employees ensure retirement security and achieve personal wellness is what helped Credit Union West earn its place on the top 10.“Credit Union West demonstrates a commitment to the financial security of their employees by contributing more than $2 million to both their defined-benefit plan and defined-contribution plans,” said John McClain, vice president of human resources, NORCAL Mutual Insurance Co. and 10 best judge. “They also pay 100% of medical and long-term care premiums, an admirable effort that further helps employee protect their income and savings today, as well as into the future.”As part of the recognition, the Principal Financial Group Foundation will make a $2,500 contribution to each of the top 10 firms’ charity of choice.A summary of the winners’ best practices will be published and available in January 2010 at www.principal.com/10best.–[email protected]

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