Birmingham, AL/Tallahassee, FL, June 21, 2012 – The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) announced the recipients of the LSCU Awards on Friday, June 15, during the Closing General Session of its 3rd Annual Convention & Exposition (AC&E). Seven credit unions and executives were recognized for their work and dedication with these awards.
The awards highlighted professionals, volunteers, and credit unions that have made outstanding contributions to the development and growth of the credit union movement in Alabama and Florida. Each award was also accompanied by a video highlighting the good works of each recipient.
“The LSCU Awards signify the effort and member-focused approach by each of these recipients,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. “They represent some of the best and brightest of our industry and illustrate what it means to be a part of the credit union movement.”
The prestigious LSCU Award categories and winners were:
- Distinguished Service Award: James G. “Jimmy” Lankford, past president, Alabama Credit Union
- Professional of the Year: Rich Helber, president/CEO, Tropical Financial Credit Union
- Volunteer of the Year: Martha Frasier, board vice chair, Space Coast Credit Union
- Credit Union of the Year:
- Up to $100 million in assets: Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union
- $100-$500 in assets: Alabama Credit Union
- $500 or more: Army Aviation Federal Credit Union
- Brother’s Keeper: Pen Air Federal Credit Union
“Jimmy Lankford and Martha Frasier have each given more than 50 years of service to the credit union movement. They are shining examples of what makes credit unions unique. They not only led their respective credit unions, but they continue to work with them even though each has been retired for quite some time,” said La Pine.
As part of his Distinguished Service Award, Lankford’s picture will hang in the Credit Union House Hall of Fame.
The recipients of the awards are chosen by the LSCU Awards Committee which is comprised of representatives from LSCU member credit unions with a focus on credit union and community improvement. The winner is ratified on the basis of the nominations and supporting information received.
Below is a quick description of each award winner:
Distinguished Service Award – Jimmy Lankford was the president/CEO of Alabama CU for 36 years. He took the credit union from $101,000 in assets and 300 members to $87 million in assets and 14,000 members. Lankford has spent the past 14 years as a consultant to Alabama CU working on the credit union’s Call Report Data, maintains the policy manual and the credit union’s history. A south Tuscaloosa branch of the credit union is named after Lankford.
Professional of the Year – Rich Helber, president/CEO of Tropical Financial CU in Pembroke Pines, FL, was named CEO in 2010 and took a struggling credit union to profitability in 2011. The credit union’s net worth ratio rose from 6.8 percent to a high of 8 percent in 2011. In one year, the total delinquent loans fell by $4 million and net charge offs to loans fell by 50-percent. Helber has attended the past 25 CUNA GACs and the Florida State GAC to spread the credit union message.
Volunteer of the Year – Martha Frasier, vice chairman, Space Coast Credit Union, began her career as a teller in 1959 and rose to become the manager of the credit union in 1975. She oversaw an asset growth of more than $100 million. Frasier retired in 1986 and began serving on the board. She has been the Chairman, treasurer and secretary; she is currently the vice chairman. Frasier was the League Chapter chair for a number of years; she was also the Credit Union Executive Society Florida Council chair that won the national council of the year award for three straight years. She has been a member of the Southeast Corporate board.
Credit Union of the Year – up to $100 million in assets – Monroe County Teachers FCU, $15 million in assets based in Key West, FL. Monroe County Teachers FCU added $4.7 million in assets in 2011 while maintaining a nine-percent net worth ratio. The credit union is in the 99th percentile for membership, share, loan, asset and net worth growth. When compared to peer credit unions, Monroe County Teachers is below its peers in delinquencies and net charge offs. Monroe County awarded six scholarships totaling $1,500 through the Stand Up for Education program and adopted 12 Monroe County schools donating $3,000 worth of supplies.
Credit Union of the Year – $100 million to $500 million in assets – Alabama CU, $479 million in assets based in Tuscaloosa, AL. Alabama CU grew its assets $91 million over the past year while maintaining a nearly nine percent net worth ratio and a 1.4 percent return on assets. That’s almost double the national average. Alabama CU opened a new branch in Gulf Shores. The credit union was honored with a Dora Maxwell award for its Secret meals for kids program which provides kids meals in their backpacks without them knowing it so they will have food over the weekend. The program has grown to 52 schools and reaches more than 1,000 students. $140,000 was raised for the program.
Credit Union of the Year – over $500 million in assets – Army Aviation Center FCU, $1 billion in assets based in Daleville, AL. Army Aviation reached $1 billion in assets in 2011while also having a nearly one percent ROA. The credit union received a 5-star rating from Bauer financial for 15 years. Army Aviation introduced to its members an iPhone and Android app, as well as an upgraded bill pay feature. It opened a new branch and is building a new headquarters. The credit union supports eight in-school branches along with financial literacy, something it also provides to churches and other civic groups. Army Aviation awards 10 scholarships per year to area high school students, while also maintaining a Youth Council to teach students about credit unions and receive feedback on services for that age group.
Brother’s Keeper – Pen Air FCU, based in Pensacola, FL, loaned its mobile branch to Community Credit Union of Gadsden, AL in 2011 after its Rainsville branch was destroyed by a tornado. In 2012, after Secure First Credit Union of Birmingham, AL was damaged following a tornado, Pen Air once again lent its mobile branch to help the credit union continue to serve its members. Each time the mobile branch was loaned with no time limit. Pen Air also donated supplies to the tornado victims.
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions represents 288 credit unions in Alabama and Florida with a combined total of $63 billion in assets and more than 6.4 million members. LSCU provides advocacy and regulatory information; education and training; cooperative initiatives (including financial education outreach); media relations and information; and business solutions. For more information, visit www.lscu.coop. Follow the League on Twitter at twitter.com/LeagueofSECUs.