Coastal recipients collect two Hero Awards from Carolinas Credit Union Foundation

RALEIGH, NC (February 3, 2020) — Coastal Credit Union announced that the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation has awarded two Coastal recipients of its 2019 Hero Awards.  Longtime volunteer Bill Smith received a Lifetime Achievement Award, while the Coastal Credit Union Foundation is the Partner in Philanthropy Award recipient.  The awards were presented at the Foundation’s annual Awards Gala in Charlotte on January 30th.

Bill Smith – Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award

Smith is Coastal’s longest-serving board member, and has been a volunteer with Coastal since 1971 while he was working for IBM, the credit union’s original membership group. During most of this time, he served as Secretary/Treasurer, a positon that he still holds today.

In 1974, he helped set the tone for Coastal’s future expansion, and reputation as an innovator and an industry leader, when he convinced the rest of the board to hire Larry Wilson as the credit union’s first CEO. Wilson would go on to lead Coastal through impressive growth over the next 38 years. During that time, the credit union become an early adopter of online banking and other technology, and saw now-CEO Chuck Purvis co-invent the personal teller machine, an innovation that would lead Coastal to become first financial institution in the world to implement the technology in every branch. Today, Smith continues to support Purvis’s leadership and the ongoing success that Coastal has enjoyed under him.

Outside of our board room, Smith remains an energetic advocate for credit unions. He is still active in the industry’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference, and regularly attends the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions’ (NAFCU) visits to Capitol Hill. He previously served on committees for NAFCU and the North Carolina Credit Union League, and was chairman of the League of IBM Credit Unions for nineteen years.

Beyond his service to credit unions and career at IBM, Smith has also been a small business owner, and an officer of the Antique Dealers Association. In his spare time, he also volunteered with Junior Achievement and the Duke Children’s Miracle Network.

In 2018, Mr. Smith was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the Lieutenant Governor.  It is among the highest honors awarded by the State of North Carolina, and has been reserved for individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state, or in this case, to the citizens of North Carolina.

Coastal Credit Union Foundation – Partner in Philanthropy

Philanthropy is engrained in Coastal’s DNA. As a cooperative, one of the principles that Coastal follows is Concern for Community.  As such, the Coastal’s role in the community is central to everything it does, and since 2011, the credit union has run its own foundation.

Coastal’s charitable contributions are primarily made through the Foundation, which is funded by member activity. Each time members use their Coastal debit or credit card, Coastal donates a penny to the foundation. It may seem like a small amount, but all those pennies added up to more than $368,000 last year that can be used to help the community.

In 2019, the Foundation provided more than $533,000 in grants, and has made more than $1.6 million in grants over the past eight years.  This includes a 2018 grant that enabled Ramsey Solutions’ Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum to be taught in all Wake County high schools and four schools in Durham and Rocky Mount this school year.

The foundation’s year was highlighted by our fourth annual The Power of Sharing event on May 23rd. The Power of Sharing was created by the Coastal Credit Union Foundation in 2016 to bring different business partners together to demonstrate their commitment to bettering their communities through a collaborative funding forum. The goal was to recognize the tremendous impact that local non-profits are making throughout the community.

At this year’s Power of Sharing, Coastal’s business partners and the Foundation collectively awarded more than $2 million in charitable grants and in-kind giving to organizations that are making a significant impact in our communities.

For these efforts, our Foundation also helped Coastal earn a 2019 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

About Coastal Credit Union

Coastal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned, financial cooperative, offering a full range of financial products and services. Coastal was chartered on August 31, 1967 with the mission of fostering the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”  Today, with $4.27 billion in assets, Coastal serves 286,000 members from 1,800 business partners and is among the leading financial institutions in North Carolina.  Coastal operates 23 locations in central North Carolina and serves members in all 50 states through a network of 5,000 shared branches, 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, mobile banking featuring mobile check deposit, and a robust offering of online services at For more Coastal news, visit our online newsroom.

About Coastal Credit Union Foundation

The mission of the Coastal Credit Union Foundation is to enrich the lives of our members and their communities by providing financial support to 501(c)(3) organizations, particularly in the 16-county market of Central North Carolina. Learn more at


Joe Mecca

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