ALBANY, N.Y. — Visions Federal Credit Union (FCU) and Horizons Federal Credit Union in Broome County and the chairman of the SEFCU board of directors were among those honored with NYCUA Recognition Awards.
The awards were part of the New York Credit Union Association’s (NYCUA) virtual annual meeting and awards ceremony held June 24.
Social Responsibility Community Service Award
NYCUA recognized Binghamton–based Horizons FCU with the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award. Endwell–based Visions FCU was acknowledged with an honorable mention.
The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award annually recognizes credit unions that “strengthen local institutions and materially improves the lives of non-members through community outreach programs,” as described in the NYCUA news release.
NYCUA honored Horizons FCU its Reaching Out program. The credit union worked to provide emotional and financial relief to members 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.
Visions FCU secured an honorable mention for “displaying exceptional commitment” to the community and the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”
Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award
Besides its honorable mention in the social-responsibility category, Visions FCU won the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award.
That award recognizes 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 FCU for its “We Care Skip” program. Alongside other COVID-19 relief programs, Visions FCU instituted the program, which allowed qualified members to skip three months of eligible loans — “penalty free, no questions asked.” In total, the credit union allowed more than 28,000 skipped payments to members who were struggling financially.
Outstanding Volunteer Award
NYCUA also recognized Ron Rock — chairman of the board of directors of Albany–based SEFCU — with the Outstanding Volunteer Award.
That award recognizes 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 percent and assets by 277 percent since Rock’s tenure as chair of the SEFCU supervisory committee began 15 years ago, per the release.
But it was during the pandemic that Rock’s leadership “rose to new heights,” NYCUA said. Under his guidance, 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 currently works at the Albany law firm of Brown & Weinraub, PLLC and he brings “extensive” financial experience to his position on the SEFCU board.
Hall of Fame induction
Besides the recognition awards, NYCUA also inducted all of New York state’s frontline credit-union employees into the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame, in what it described as an unprecedented move.
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,” William Mellin, president and CEO of NYCUA, said. “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.”
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.