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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.


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Save the date: AACUC Annual Conference, Reality Fair event coming in August

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, June 19, 2017

Two exciting and educational events are planned for Raleigh in August. The African American Credit Union Coalition will hold its Annual Conference at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel August 8-11. During this event a group of volunteers from the conference, as well as Raleigh area credit unions, will host a Reality Fair event on August 9 from 9:00 am until Noon.

Registration for the Annual Conference is now open, with a discounted hotel room rate available through July 11. Full details and registration links may be found on the AACUC web site's event page. Local Government FCU is serving as the host credit union for the event as well as a Platinum Sponsor. The Carolinas Credit Union League is also a sponsor of the 19th Annual Conference.

Details of the Reality Fair event are still in process. The Reality Fair, which educates high school aged students about the real life money and budget decisions they will be making in their adult years, relies on volunteer support from annual conference attendees and credit union staff from the Raleigh-Durham area. This is the fifth year a Reality Fair simulation has been presented as part of the AACUC Annual Conference.  

If you are interested in attending the Annual Conference, please visit the AACUC web site. To volunteer for the Reality Fair event scheduled from 9 am - Noon on Wednesday, August 9, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063).  

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Two North Carolina staff earn CUDE designation

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, June 19, 2017

Forty-eight credit union professionals, including two from North Carolina, successfully earned the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation earlier this month. CUDE is a program of the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation). The DE training was held May 31 - June 7, 2017 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis.

Sherrie Krizic (Local Government FCU) and Tami Langton (Coastal FCU) were among the class members who successfully completed and earned the CUDE designation. Nearly 90 credit union staff (active and retired) are CUDEs in North Carolina and South Carolina, and work cooperatively on events and projects such as the Principles and Philosophy Conference.

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and were required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For this training’s final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included financial stability among young adults and families, credit union board development, building microfinance programs in developing countries, credit union solutions to predatory lending, the increasing issue of homelessness in America, and rejuvenating a stagnant credit union. In this way. participants are challenged to consider the cooperative nature and structure of credit unions when considering solutions to these issues.

For more information on the CUDE program, please go to the National CU Foundation web site. The Carolinas Credit Union League offers up to two scholarships to CUDE each year for staff at credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina. For more information on these opportunities, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063). 

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Carolina Foothills assists Spartanburg woman with home repairs

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 12, 2017
To mark the DE Day of Service, Carolina Foothills FCU staff worked for several hours on the home and yard of Rose Gilliam of Spartanburg. Ms. Gilliam is pictured with the group in the blue shirt in the front left.

On June 14, a group of volunteers from Carolina Foothills FCU (CFFCU) delivered Christmas a few months early to Spartanburg resident Rose Gilliam. The presents came in the form of much-needed home repairs and improvements to the home of the 65-year-old retired cafeteria worker.

The credit union effort, which was coordinated through the group Christmas in Action, was part of the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) Day of Service. Held the second Wednesday of each June, the Day of Service encourages CUDEs across the world to complete a service project in order to improve the lives of members and local communities.

“As a 24-year veteran of the Credit Union Development Educator program, I was more than happy to join with thousands of other DEs across the globe to make a difference,” said Terri Hendrix, vice president of business development and community engagement for CFFCU. “There is real power in numbers, and having many of my co-workers supporting it with their own sweat equity makes us an even more cohesive team!”

The 65-year-old Gilliam has lived in her California Avenue home in Spartanburg for more than 22 years. Prior to her retirement, Gilliam worked in the cafeterias at Arcadia and Dorman Center Schools for 28 years, including 10 as a manager.

Despite temperatures that were a not very Christmas like 90 degrees by afternoon, the Carolina Foothills crew made a variety of repairs and enhancements to Gilliam's home, including replacing rotted window framing on the back of the house, trimming tree limbs and cleaning up the yard. The group also provided a much needed coat of paint to the trim and shutters of the home.

As a retiree living on a fixed income, Gilliam was unable to pay for repairs out of pocket. A variety of health problems also limits her ability to maintain the property. The Carolina Foothills effort was one part of a multi-step repair and improvement project on the home. 

Christmas in Action is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates the houses of elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged homeowners, to provide for their continued safety and independence. Founded in 1996, the organization mobilizes volunteers to complete repairs and improvements to the homes of those who cannot afford to make them. According to Census Bureau data, some 3,500 Spartanburg County homeowners are elderly and impoverished.  

President/CEO Scott Weaver notes that volunteerism is a key strength for the CFFCU staff. “From the board down to the teller line, our credit union not only talks about working to make our community stronger, we actually roll up our shelves and do it! This is the third year our management team has performed a day of service; everyone enjoys it, we like seeing the results and it makes us feel connected to the community.” 

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Life Simulation offers credit union staff look into life on the edge

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Thursday, June 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions educate and train members, employees and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of the credit union. In addition, credit unions provide financial education for their members and the public.

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship.

Credit union staff often interact with and assist members who struggle each day to get by financially. Assisting members living on a financial cliff is not easy, and sometimes it is hard to understand why people make the financial choices they do.

The Life Simulation, an experiential learning program of the National Credit Union Foundation, bridges this understanding gap by placing staff in the shoes of people encountering these struggles. The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month.

It is unique and special because it combines the financial and emotional distress that 25 simulated families tackle as one of up to 90 participants. "The goal is increasing empathy and awareness," shared Jeff Hardin, the League's director of cooperative initiatives.

Through a partnership with Coastal Credit Union, Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union and the Carolinas Credit Union League, the Life Simulation is available for credit unions and chapters in North Carolina and South Carolina to use free-of-charge. "It is a three hour simulation from beginning to end, but that investment of time is sure to impact people's ability to relate to the struggles that members go through," said Hardin. 

In addition to the Life Simulation kit, Hardin is available to assist with coordinating credit union planning efforts, as well as facilitating the event. For more information, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063.  

Tags:  Life Simulation  Principle Five  Principle Seven 

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FiCEP program kicks off in Carolinas

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions educate and train members, employees and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of the credit union. In addition, credit unions provide financial education for their members and the public.

A total of 39 credit union professionals in the Carolinas began the five-month Enhanced Financial Counseling Program (FiCEP) this week. FiCEP, which is a combination self-study and instructor-led program, enables credit union staff to earn the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation from CUNA.

"As this is the first year of the FiCEP program in the Carolinas, we are thrilled to have such a great interest and response from credit unions," shared Jeff Hardin, the director of cooperative initiatives for the Carolinas Credit Union League. "FiCEP gives credit union employees more confidence in assisting members in need of financial counseling. It is a valuable skill for both staff and the credit union, and a tremendous member benefit."

The program kicked off with an orientation webinar this week. Over the next five months, FiCEP participants will complete a series of eight self-study modules, and participate in webinars with NCUF staff that recap the information in each module. 

The program also includes two in-person training and testing dates in the Carolinas, including August 9 in Irmo and October 18 in Charlotte, The October 18 in-person event includes a final test to earn the CCUFC designation.

If you are interested in FiCEP and would like to ask a question or be added to a contact list for the 2018 program, please contact Jeff Hardin (919) 457-9063.  

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