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CUs in the News: September 2022

A Monthly Roundup of #TheDifference Across WI

CUs in the News September 2022
Oct 05, 2022
By Hannah Higgins
  • The CU Difference

Whether it's giving back, awarding scholarships, creating community, providing innovative solutions, or fostering financial literacy (and so much more), here's how Wisconsin's credit unions supported their members and communities in September.


Giving Back

RCU Foundation announces $50,000 gift to Holcombe Area Veterans Memorial Park
The RCU Foundation is announcing a $50,000 gift to the Town of Lake Holcombe dedicated to the construction of the new Holcombe Area Veterans Memorial Park. According to a media release from Royal Credit Union, the Park is intended to be a place to honor and recognize the sacrifices of all Armed Forces including active, guard, and reserves military who have served the country over the years. (Royal Credit Union, 9/2)

Blood Donor Opportunities In Manitowoc Area Soon
The American Red Cross office in Green Bay has announced three blood donation opportunities in the Manitowoc area this month. The first of the three is Tuesday, September 6th from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Manitowoc Senior Center, 3330 Custer Street. That’ll be followed by another blood drive on Monday, September 12th between noon and 4:00 p.m. at Shoreline Credit Union, 4400 Calumet Avenue. (Shoreline Credit Union, 9/4)

Royal Credit Union gifts $150,000 to Carpenter Nature Center
The Royal Credit Union Foundation made a $150,000 gift to the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center in support of the center’s new Wisconsin campus just outside of Hudson.The new campus will expand quality environmental education and access to restored and protected habitat along the St. Croix River. (Royal Credit Union, 9/7) 

La Crosse Aging and Disability Resource Center unveils dementia programming
Helping people become more aware of dementia will be top of mind this season for the La Crosse Aging and Disability Resource Center. The organization is teaming up with other community partners to put on different discussions, brain checks, and even live theatre this fall. Dementia Care Specialist Kelsey Flock joined Daybreak on Thursday to talk about some of those upcoming performances and how they impact not only those living with dementia but the community as a whole. "Fortune Cookies" and "Steering into the Skid" will offer the opportunity for caregivers, those living with dementia, and the community to sit back and enjoy the free show. (Altra Credit Union, 9/8)

Fox Communities Credit Union Ready to Power Up Pulaski Nonprofits
Fox Communities Credit Union, a not-for-profit financial institution with locations throughout northeast Wisconsin, has kicked off its Pulaski Power Up campaign. The campaign aims to donate $5,000 to the Pulaski United Foundation and the Pulaski Tri-County Fire Department. Now through October 31, those who become a new member and open a checking account at Fox Communities Credit Union will help make a difference. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 9/8)

 Summit Credit Union encourages identity theft protection through ‘Shredfest’
Summit Credit Union is giving people the opportunity to shred their personal documents this weekend. ShredFest, an event aimed to create identity theft awareness, is free to the public. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, from 8:30-11 a.m. at its Cottage Grove headquarters, at 1709 Landmark Dr. Summit Credit Union suggests shredding documents with social security numbers, bank account numbers and private, personal information on them. Visitors can shred documents up to three boxes or paper bags. (Summit Credit Union, 9/14)

Culver’s team up to brighten the holidays
There are no grinches allowed when it comes to making someone’s holiday a little brighter. More than 55 law enforcement agencies took part in the 7th annual Police Lights of Christmas Wednesday at dozens of Culver’s restaurants. Until about 7:30 P.M., officers collected donations, which will be used to purchase gift cards to give to people who need a pick-me-up during the holidays. Officers tell us it makes their season a little brighter, too. Culver’s restaurants also donated a portion of its sales. Unison Credit Union matched donations made through tips. Last year, more than $71,000 was raised for the program. (Unison Credit Union, 9/21) 

VIDEO: Serving Hispanic members
Avestar Credit Union knew an opportunity existed to serve Spanish-speaking individuals in its community. The $34 million asset credit union in Waterloo, Wis., is located in an area that includes a large number of permanent Hispanic residents and migrant workers who come to the area to work at local businesses for a portion of the year. While all of them need access to a financial institution, those who don’t speak English as their native language face a language barrier as well. (Avestar Credit Union, 9/21) 

Hundreds of Wisconsinites rid of personal documents during ‘Shredfest’
 Wisconsin residents took steps toward protecting themselves against identity theft Saturday during ‘Shredfest.’ The Better Business Bureau hosted the event in partnership with Summit Credit Union. The free document shredding event is held each year to encourage the community to get rid of personal documents. According to the BBB, those documents can be easily used by fraudsters to steal an identity. (Summit Credit Union, 9/24) 

RCU Foundation gifts $500,000 to Freedom Park Center in New Richmond
The Royal Credit Union Foundation is gifting $500,000 dedicated to the construction of Freedom Park Center in New Richmond, Wis. According to a media release from RCU, the 17,400-square-foot facility is said to include three sections including the Veterans Center, the Senior Center, and the Community Event Center. The facility is said to offer a commercial kitchen, a concession stand and meeting rooms for public use. Freedom Park Center is set to be located on Hatfield Lake. (Royal Credit Union, 9/29) 

Supporting Financial Literacy

Creating wealth through equity at the Wisconsin Leadership Summit
UW Credit Union Branch Manager Renae Sigall will moderate a panel discussion titled “Bridging The Gap: Creating Wealth through Equitable Opportunity” on Tuesday, October 11, the second day of the Wisconsin Leadership Summit. Registration is open now at Renae Sigall is a Branch Manager III at UW Credit Union. Renae serves the community through outreach and financial education. In her current role, she oversees the operations of the corporate branch location of UWCU located at 3750 University Ave in Madison, WI. (UW Credit Union, 9/23)

Dollars and Sense: Funding your child’s future
Many parents have the goal of minimizing their kid’s need to take on debt early in life; here are some great options to do that: The first option to consider is a high-yield savings account. Some credit unions and banks will offer high interest accounts for minors, but they may carry a limit on that higher yield. For example, a financial institution may offer a child’s dividend rate of 2% up to $2,500 but, anything above that $2,500 will receive the same rate as a basic savings account. This provides coverage by NCUA/FDIC, avoids market exposure, and keeps the funds accessible; however, this eliminates the growth potential that could really benefit a young person. (WESTconsin Credit Union, 9/30)

Creating Community

Racine & Me: Wine Walk & Party on the Pavement
There's something to wine about in downtown Racine. Kelly Kruse, the Executive Director of Racine Downtown Corporation joined CBS 58 virtually to discuss two upcoming events.The Wine Walks are coming up on October 8 and 15, 2022 from 1pm-6pm. People can enjoy the change of seasons in beautiful downtown by sampling 20 delicious wines along with 10 beer samples poured at 30 participating businesses. Tickets for the event are $40 each and will include admission to the Wine Walk's 30 stops, wine sampling glass, a canvas tote bag and snacks at each location. (Educators Credit Union, 9/11) 

Art on Main Banner Auction now open online
The 28 hand-painted, custom banners that decorated downtown lamp posts this summer will be sold via an online auction starting today, Monday, today, through Thursday, Sept. 22, at The online auction will start to close at 6 p.m. on Sept. 22. All proceeds will help support next year’s Art on Main program and other downtown beautification projects. This year’s edition of Art on Main is presented by Maas Brothers Construction. It is also sponsored by Chickens Unlimited, Johnsonville, WE Energies Foundation, Watertown Arts Council, Fort Community Credit Union, Literatus & Co., Hafemeister Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Hayes Family Auto, Edward Jones – Ron Counsell, and Stan Jones of Jones Auction Service. (Fort Community Credit Union, 9/12)

Storytelling festivities for families held in Whitewater
The Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second year of the Whitewater Storytelling Festival. The festival will take place Sept. 23 through Sept. 25 with the help from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and sponsorship form Generac, Fort Community Credit Union, NextHome Success Whitewater and the Fairfield Inn & Suites. The art of storytelling will be told by Whitewater local, regional and national known storytellers. (Fort Community Credit Union, 9/14)

On Broadway: 2022 igNight Market series continues on Broadway Street
 On Broadway is happy to announce igNight Market, presented by Fox Communities Credit Union, continues September 17 from 5-10 p.m. on Broadway Street between Walnut and Howard Streets. The event feature local artisans and makers, original live music, interactive art demonstrations, street performers, activities, food trucks and more. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 9/19)

Fostering Excellence

Altra wins three CUNA awards for Wisconsin
The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award recognizes the charitable work and external programs of credit unions that benefit local communities, including fundraising and volunteering. Altra received this award for its 90 Acts of Kindness in celebration of its 90th anniversary in 2021. This project was an all-encompassing, yearlong process to engage members, non-members, and 100% of staff in the cooperative principle of concern for community through national days of celebration, donations, volunteerism, and sponsorships. (Altra Credit Union, 9/1)

Credit unions have been a pillar of Wisconsin communities since 1923, when City of Milwaukee employees gathered to start the first credit union, Prime Financial Credit Union, which still operates today and will soon celebrate its 100-year anniversary. While Wisconsin’s credit unions represent only 20% of the financial services market in the state, we positively impact the lives of our members and our communities in significant ways that benefit all Wisconsinites. Credit unions have been serving Marshfield since the late 1940s with the creation of what is known today as Simplicity Credit Union, and our community is now home to three other credit unions: First Choice Credit Union, Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union, and Valley Communities Credit Union. While we serve different segments of the community, we all embody the credit union difference by operating as not-for-profit financial cooperatives, putting our members first. (First Choice Credit Union, Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union, Simplicity Credit Union, Valley Communities Credit Union, 9/6)

Altra recognized for workplace excellence
For the fourth consecutive year, Altra Federal Credit Union has been certified a Great Place to Work® and recognized as a Fortune Best Workplace for the third consecutive year. Great Place to Work® recognizes employers who create an outstanding employee experience. This year, 93% of current Altra employees say it’s a great place to work compared to 57% in a typical U.S. company. “Creating a positive work environment is essential to the overall wellness of our employees and the Credit Union,” said Steve Koenen, President and CEO at Altra. “Being chosen by our employees as a Great Place to Work® four consecutive years is a testament to that effort.” (Altra Federal Credit Union, 9/13)

Institute for Women’s Leadership hosts Laurie Butz, president and CEO of Capital Credit Union on October 4
Join the Institute for Women’s Leadership as President and CEO of Capital Credit Union Laurie Butz shares her leadership challenges and triumphs in our next “Women Rising: Stories from Experience” in-person on October 4. Laurie has more than 34 years in business and financial services experience, and she has held leadership positions in human resources, organizational development, training, business development and more. The event takes place at Capital Credit Union’s De Pere location from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Free for members. Non-members pay a nominal fee. (Capital Credit Union, 9/19)

‘Wacky’ ideas create compelling content
If you think the credit union mantra, “people helping people,” is hackneyed, it’s because you haven’t met Dani Sherman. In her role as digital content strategist at Fort Community Credit Union in Fort Atkinson, Wis., Sherman leverages her information technology (IT) and marketing skills to harness the power of social media in a fresh approach to improve people’s financial well-being. (Fort Community Credit Union, 9/23)

More Than 50 Credit Unions Win Technical Assistance Grants from CDFI Fund
More than 50 credit unions are among the institutions that have received technical assistance grants as part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s latest round. Each of the credit unions received $125,000. In addition, one CUSO, Dora Financial, and a number of cooperatives also received grants. (Co-op Credit Union) 

More Than 50 Credit Unions Win Technical Assistance Grants from CDFI Fund
–More than 50 credit unions are among the institutions that have received technical assistance grants as part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s latest round. Each of the credit unions received $125,000. (Co-op Credit Union, 9/26)

UW Credit Union CEO discusses rapid Milwaukee-area expansion
Paul Kundert said he believes the area could support 20 UW Credit Union branches. (UW Credit Union, 9/29)

Providing Innovative Solutions

A seasonal twist on a credit union classic
With the return of "pumpkin spice" foods and drinks, a Wisconsin credit union is applying the same fall flavor to one of its products. Verve, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, began offering a "pumpkin spice loan" in 2014 after seeing the name catch on following its use as part of Starbucks' menu in 2003. "We've run different approaches to the pumpkin spice loan in the past, where it began by playing on the pumpkin spice trend, and we've [since] expanded to other fall activities like getting lost in a corn maze," said Jordan Destree, assistant vice president of brand and design for the $1.5 billion-asset credit union. (Verve, a Credit Union, 9/16)

Awarding Scholarships

Meet the winners of the 2022 People's Choice awards
Have you ever wanted to grab a post card and write to a friend or family member, just to tell them about a Madison place, restaurant, or experience that was special to you? We have. Many times. So this year, we are dedicating our People's Choice awards to the simple act of writing a post card. No, we don't have an actual post card in the print guide you can use (that would've been genius though), but we have this winner's guide. (9/1)

sting in Communities 

Connexus Credit Union to build new location in Rib Mountain
Connexus Credit Union broke ground on its new location in Rib Mountain. It is set to open next summer. The credit union will be located at the intersection of North Mountain Road and Hummingbird Lane. As we break ground on our new Rib Mountain branch, Connexus looks forward to continuing our investments in the Central Wisconsin communities we call home, maintaining our strong relationships with our current members, and welcoming new members in the Greater Wausau area,” said Boyd Gustke, Connexus President & Chief Executive Officer. The new branch is anticipated to be approximately 5,100 square feet. It will have a five-lane drive-thru with an ATM. A virtual tour of the branch is available here. (Connexus Credit Union, 9/9)

CoVantage Credit Union opens in Plover
CoVantage Credit Union’s new branch is open at 2931 Post Road in Plover, near the intersection of Plover and Post roads. The credit union celebrated its new Plover branch with open house celebrations Tuesday and Wednesday, but the company will continue its celebration through the end of the month. For each new checking account opened at CoVantage in Plover, the credit union will donate $100 to one of three charities. Customers with new checking accounts can choose for the money to be donated to CoVantage Cares Foundation, Lake Pacawa Phase 2 Improvements or Plover Interfaith Food Pantry. (CoVantage Credit Union, 9/15)



About The Author

Hannah Higgins is the Communications Assistant for The Wisconsin Credit Union League. Interested in having your credit union's news considered? Contact us!