AACUC receives anchor award from the National Credit Union Foundation
MADISON, WIS (October 7, 2021) — Lucy Ito, Roger Heacock and the Faith Based Credit Union Alliance have been selected by the National Credit Union Foundation as the newest winners of the highest honor in U.S. credit unions, the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards.
In addition, in recognition of its global efforts to unite financial industries in irradicating racism, the Georgia-based African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) will also receive the Foundation’s Anchor Award.
The awards will be presented on Feb. 28 in Washington at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards dinner, held in conjunction with CUNA’s GAC.
“These awards celebrate the innovators and modern-day pioneers of the credit union movement,” said Gigi Hyland, executive director of the Foundation. “These are the individuals and institutions revolutionizing the credit union system through living and embodying our founding principles and values. Their tireless work ignites and inspires all of us in our journey to make financial freedom achievable to all through credit unions. And, not to overstate the obvious, we are thrilled to be celebrating in-person, once again, in 2022.”
Here’s what the Foundation said about each of the honorees:
Lucy Ito, President & CEO, NASCUS
Individual Award Winner
“NASCUS advocates on behalf of state agencies that supervise 2,020 state-chartered credit unions and represent $934 billion in assets—just over one-half of all U.S. credit union assets, as of Dec. 31, 2020.
“Ito has spent over 30 years of her career in the credit union movement, beginning with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). She has held her current role since 2014 and in May 2021 announced she will retire at the year’s end.”
Roger Heacock, Retired President, Black Hills FCU
Individual Award Winner
“Roger Heacock joined the credit union movement in 1975. In 1983, he became president & CEO of Black Hills Federal Credit Union (BHFCU), the position he retired from earlier this year. Under Heacock’s tenure, BHFCU grew their asset size from $23 million to $1.675 billion.
“Heacock also led countless charitable efforts to help the people of South Dakota. Each year, the credit union holds a school supply drive, which yields over 100,000 supplies to children in need.
“Additionally, under his leadership, BHFCU established a member service center on the Cheyenne River Reservation to help the underserved and provide services, which led membership and loans to new levels.
“Heacock also served three terms on CUNA’s Board of Directors, led the South Dakota Credit Union League, and served on countless other boards on the national level.”
The Faith Based Credit Union Alliance
Organizational Award Winner
“The Faith Based Credit Union Alliance was formed in 2010 after the economic downturn in 2007, with the goal to have 19 smaller credit unions pool their resources and work together to help underserved communities. The alliance is run by volunteers who support individuals with limited resources work towards financial well-being.
“The organization has certified financial counselors available to assist members with tax preparation, financial literacy, credit counseling and estate planning, among other services. They also launched a partnership with CUNA, Illinois Credit Union League, and Inclusiv to provide members with additional educational resources on topics including cyber security, predatory loan lending alternatives and minor accounts.
“FBCUA also partners with local high schools and universities for mentorship and internship programs.
The African-American Credit Union Coalition
Anchor Award Winner
“The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) is committed to increasing diversity in the credit union movement through advocacy and professional development. The organization’s staple programs include scholarships, internships, mentoring and technical support to member credit unions.
“Over the last five years, the organization has seen significant growth, more than quadrupling its membership and growing assets by 188%. This expansion provided the platform for the AACUC to effectively launch Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism Initiative in 2020. Garnering cross-industry support, the movement established collaborations across the credit union system and community-based organizations, all focused on eradicating racism and building a more equitable financial system.
“The AACUC was a positive force in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder; unifying credit unions and system partners, opening up difficult conversation and initiating strategic and systematic change across the industry.”
For additional info, visit www.ncuf.coop
About African-American Credit Union Coalition
Founded in 1999, the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) has grown and is ever changing to meet the needs of the dynamic credit union community which it serves. It has become an all-encompassing organization for individuals (professional and volunteers) in Credit Unions, Insurance, Regulators, Consultants and other entities in the credit union industry. AACUC promotes personal and professional growth of its members as well as collectively articulating concerns and advocating resources to improve economic development of surrounding communities that are often under-served by majority financial institutions. In 2020, AACUC launched the Commitment to Change: Credit Unions United Against Racism initiative. Learn more at: https://www.aacuc.org.