Two CUs Honored as OpSS Council Excellence Award Winners

Madison, Wis. – Two credit unions were the winners in the 8th annual CUNA Operations, Sales & Service (OpSS) Council’s Excellence Awards, which recognize innovative solutions optimizing credit union performance. The award winners were recognized during the council’s 15th annual conference, which took place October 14-17, in Las Vegas.

Red Canoe CU in Longview, Washington, won in the Sales & Service Management category for their multiple sales programs. Some of them were: Ahead of the Curve, Around the World in 80 Calls, Extreme Makeover: Financial Group Edition, QuestionSANDanswers, and the $25 pyramid. They also utilized their own communication tools BERT and ERNIE and a Member Solution Worksheet. As a result of their programs they implemented and the additional tools used, they had loan growth of 43.6% from the same time in 2011 to 2012. Other measures of their success were 6,824 outbound calls for the first half of 2012, which is more than double the previous year’s production. Red Canoe also measures their competitor buyouts and through the first half of 2012, they are on track to increase over 59% from 2011. They are also exceeding their own credit union goal by experiencing a Quality Service Rating of 95.09%.

Directions CU in Sylvania, Ohio, won in the Miscellaneous category for a successful merger of equal credit unions. They are a unique blend of three credit unions and now one of the largest in the state of Ohio. Toledo Area Community Credit Union, a $185 million credit union and Empire Affiliates Credit Union, with $138 million in assets originally merged and Erie Shores Credit Union later added $126 million in assets to the final piece of the merger that is now Directions Credit Union, a name that can embrace the future of all of the credit unions involved.

Individually, the three credit unions would have struggled through the recession, but by combining forces and utilizing some economies of scale, they made difficult decisions to eliminate some branches that overlapped and even put a freeze on hiring and pay increases that have allowed them to not only survive, but now excel in their marketplace.

The combined assets are projected to be $575 million by the end of the year. They survived multiple CEO retirements, name changes and other obstacles, but are now moving forward with 250 employees at 18 member access offices and two nonmember operation centers serving over 67,000 members.

The OpSS Council Excellence Awards were created to identify, recognize, and share new approaches and solutions with universal application in the credit union movement. Winners were chosen, without regard to credit union asset size, based on strategy, process, application, and results.

Additional information about the awards and winning entries are available online at – select the “Excellence Awards” link contained in the “Events” pull down menu.

CUNA OpSS Council
The CUNA Operations, Sales & Service (OpSS) Council is a member-led partnership of operations, sales, and service professionals dedicated to providing education, leadership, networking support, professional development tools, and expertise to its members in order to shape the enhancement of the role and diversity of operations in the credit union industry. The CUNA OpSS Council is one of the six organizations that make up the CUNA Councils, a network of more than 5,000 credit union professionals. For more information, visit or

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