Several credit unions and individuals have been awarded the New York Credit Union Association’s prestigious statewide Recognition Awards. The credit unions and individuals formally received the awards during NYCUA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on June 24.

In an unprecedented move, all of New York state’s frontline credit union personnel were inducted into the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have devoted their lives to the philosophy and success of the credit union movement, and who have made a significant impact on credit unions at the local, state or national levels.

“There were many deserving credit union leaders eligible for the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame this year,” said William J. Mellin, NYCUA president and CEO. “But perhaps no one individual is as deserving of the title ‘Hall of Famer’ as the frontline credit union personnel who continued to show up for work each day and put their own health at risk, so that New Yorkers could access the financial support they needed most during the height of the pandemic.”

In presenting additional NYCUA Recognition Awards, John C. Gibardi, NYCUA board member and Awards Committee chairman, concurred with Mellin. “Unquestionably, credit unions, credit union professionals and credit union volunteers were among some of the brightest, offering hope, solace and stability when we needed it the most, and we know so many credit unions went above and beyond in their member and community service.”

The full list of 2021 NYCUA Recognition Award recipients is as follows:

  • Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award:
    • Horizons FCU; SeaComm FCU; Teachers FCU
    • Honorable mentions: Western New York FCU; Visions FCU
  • Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award:
    • Visions FCU
  • Outstanding Professional Award:
    • Caroline Schierloh, director of branch operations, TCT FCU
  • Outstanding Young Professional Award:
    • Victoria (Torii) Brawdy, marketing and community relations director at Western New York FCU
  • Outstanding Volunteer Award:
    • Ron Rock, SEFCU board chairman

 

Additional information on the awards and recipients is available below:

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award, awarded annually to credit unions that strengthen local institutions and materially improves the lives of non-members through community outreach programs.

  • Horizons FCU is receiving the award for its Reaching Out program. The credit union worked to provide emotional and financial relief to members of the community hit hard by COVID-19. Over the course of the year, Horizons fed over 1,500 meals to the community through food drives, and collected school supplies and winter apparel for children in their local elementary schools.
  • SeaComm FCU is receiving the award for its Pay-It-Forward Program. Throughout the course of the year, the credit union carried out random acts of kindness for members of their communities. These acts included purchasing meals for health care workers; providing backpacks and school supplies to students; delivering winter clothing to children in need; paying off layaway items during the holiday season; and much more.
  • Teachers FCU is receiving the award for its Supporting Local Communities through the Pandemic and Beyond initiative. Teachers’ numerous volunteer days helped support a variety of charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Island's Harvest. The credit union also worked hard to provide meals to frontline workers and direct support to local businesses that have been struggling as a result of the pandemic.
  • Western New York FCU and Visions FCU received honorable mentions for displaying exceptional commitment to their communities and the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”

Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award, awarded annually to a credit union for its practical application of credit union philosophy within the actual operation of the credit union. It is awarded for internal programs and services that benefit membership.

  • NYCUA recognized Visions Federal Credit Union for its “We Care Skip” program. Alongside other COVID-19 relief programs, Visions FCU instituted the We Care Skip program, allowing qualified members to skip three months of eligible loans – penalty free, no questions asked. In total, the credit union allowed over 28,000 skipped payments to members who were struggling financially.

Outstanding Professional Award, recognizing a professional who has a true passion for credit unions and who inspires others with their hard work, dedication and success.

  • Throughout her eight-and-a-half years at TCT FCU, Caroline Schierloh, director of branch operations, has worked on several initiatives to keep TCT FCU competitive in the financial world. She spearheaded several projects to improve member convenience during the pandemic, including online account opening, online loan payments, DocuSign member service power forms and deposit-taking ATMs. During the pandemic, Schierloh regularly communicated with employees, successfully addressing questions and concerns. When information and decisions were changing rapidly at the beginning of the pandemic, she immediately coordinated and sent a daily memo to all staff that had the necessary information to help them confidently perform their jobs.

 

Outstanding Young Professional, recognizing an individual, 39 years-old or younger, whose commitment, hard work and achievements have enhanced their credit union and the entire New York credit union movement.

  • Victoria (Torii) Brawdy, marketing and community relations director at Western New York FCU, vice chair of the Young Professionals Commission and a New York Credit Union Foundation trustee, has had a big impact on her credit union, its membership, the Erie- Niagara Chapter, the YPC and the credit union movement as a whole since her journey at Western NYFCU began a few years ago. She is instrumental in her institution’s membership growth and the communication to them, ensuring that there is a consistent, clear and sometimes fun approach to dealing with them. Brawdy creates and manages all facets of the Western New York FCU’s marketing, from overall brand and strategy to implementation of tactics. She also coordinates activities and special events for membership and the community and monitors and records results of marketing campaigns as they relate to account opening and loan disbursement.

Outstanding Volunteer Award, recognizing volunteers who exemplify commitment to their credit unions and consistently embody the “people helping people” philosophy.

  • With 358,905 members and $4.8 billion in assets at the end of 2020, SEFCU has grown its membership by 162% and assets by 277% since SEFCU supervisory committee member Ron Rock’s tenure as chair began 15 years ago. But it was during the pandemic that Rock’s leadership rose to new heights. Under his leadership, the credit union took bold initiatives to make significant differences in the lives of members, the community and its employees. During the pandemic, Rock also continued to focus the board on its work in expanding diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, developing progressive policies around board recruitment. Rock is currently employed by the law firm Brown & Weinraub, PLLC and he brings extensive financial experience to his position on the SEFCU board.

About the New York Credit Union Association:

For more than 100 years, the New York Credit Union Association has served as the trade association for the state’s credit unions, which collectively hold more than $83 billion in assets and serve 5.9 million members. NYCUA strives to advance the credit union movement by advocating, educating, uniting and supporting the interests of all credit unions statewide. To learn more about NYCUA, visit www.nycua.org. To find a credit union or learn more about the credit union movement, visit yourmoneyfurther.com.

Contact: R.J. Tamburri | VP, Communications & Marketing
(800) 342-9835, ext. 8101 | rj.tamburri@nycua.org