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Seven Principles Blog
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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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Principle Seven: CU Lunch Local is next week!

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, October 06, 2014
Updated: Thursday, October 02, 2014

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

“Champion Credit Union has been and always will
be a supporter of our local communities,” says Mike
Clayton, President of Champion Credit Union.
“CU Lunch Local is a great way for us to show that
support, as well as encourage our members and
others from the community to participate as well.”

CU Lunch Local is this coming Tuesday, October 14! The event gives credit unions a chance to support local businesses in a coordinated and fun way. CU Lunch Local also shines a spotlight on credit unions as community-owned and community-based financial institutions.

Credit unions in both Carolinas have finalized their plans to participate.

South Carolina Federal Credit Union will be using the "pay it forward" approach, with staff members purchasing lunch for customers at local restaurants. Meredith Siemens, the credit union's Executive Director of PR & Communications, notes that in addition to buying lunch for others, the credit union encourages all staff to dine out that day and that employees sharing their receipts will be entered into a prize drawing.

South Carolina Federal is also hosting a food truck rodeo in the parking lot of its headquarters, on Rivers Avenue, in North Charleston, and inviting nearby credit unions to spread the word with staff & members. The credit union also plans to raise awareness of the event through its relationship with community group, Lowcountry Local First.

Western NC's Champion Credit Union is encouraging staff and members to dine out locally by posting a flier in all its branches as well as its online media channels. Members who bring a receipt to the credit union will be entered in to a drawing for a gift certificate. The credit union also sent out a press release announcing the event.   

Local Government Federal Credit Union plans events at four area restaurants in the Triangle area. In addition, LGFCU Membership Development Officers who work throughout North Carolina will be participating.

Coastal Federal Credit Union is using the event to engage its employees and members by asking them which local spots people should head to grab a great meal and support local businesses. Coastal's Spokesman, Joe Mecca, notes that thus far 14 restaurants, including five that are run by members, have agreed to be spotlighted in Coastal's CU Lunch Local communications.

Employees at Welcome Federal Credit Union in the Research Triangle Park will be dropping in on some nearby eateries to surprise diners. President/CEO Cynthia Jenkins shared that employees will be buying lunch for customers.   

 VITAL Federal Credit Union in Spartanburg also plans to surprise some lucky customers at an eatery next door to its headquarters by purchasing their lunch. "We've been a part of the Spartanburg community for 50 years," said VITAL President/CEO Pat West, "and we like to support the community that supports us every chance we get."

Mountain Credit Union in the Asheville area is giving employees at its branch locations an opportunity to choose their dining spots. Staff will recap their dining experiences with Mountain CU Business Development Director Chris Angel, who will compile them in an email to all staff.

If your credit union would like to get involved with CU Lunch Local, it is not too late! A brief informational flier and resource links about CU Lunch Local is provided here. If your credit union would like more information or plans to participate in CU Lunch Local, please contact Jeff Hardin, the League's liaison for CU Lunch Local, at 919-457-9063 or

Tags:  Coastal FCU  CU Lunch Local  Local Government FCU  Mountain CU  Principle Seven  VITAL FCU  Welcome FCU 

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Principle One: NE Greensboro residents say "We Want A Co-op!"

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, October 06, 2014
Updated: Thursday, October 02, 2014

Principle One: Voluntary and open membership. Membership is open to all people who are eligible to join the cooperative, without exception.  

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since cooperatives are locally owned, they are committed to investing in the community. 

Frustrated by a lack of a grocery store in their community, residents of Northeast Greensboro are using the co-op model to organize and open a grocery. The Renaissance Community Co-op is currently signing up members in hopes of capitalizing and opening the store on Phillips Avenue. 

The RCC produced a powerful video titled "We Want A Co-op!" to raise awareness in the community about the membership drive, and as a tool to rally the community around the cooperative's efforts. The video uses the theme of community ownership, investment and leaving a legacy through a series of statements from members of co-op and their families.

Northeast Greensboro has been without a grocery store since 1998, and efforts to attract a for-profit food store have not succeeded in the years since. For more information on RCC, please visit their web site.

Tags:  Principle Five  Principle One  Principle Seven  Renaissance Community Co-op 

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Guest Post: Jon Hamby shares CUaware Protégé insights

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(Editor's note: the 2014 CUaware Protégé contestants have each been invited to submit guest posts recapping their experiences and the lessons they learned along the way.  In this post, Northwest Chapter representative Jon Hamby of Members CU shares his thoughts.) 

C.S. Lewis once said “Experience: the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” The CUaware Protégé competition has been an experience. For me the competition meant being able to share my passion for helping others with their finances and being able to gain the contacts in which to enable me to further that passion.

Overwhelming joy is what comes to mind when I think about this entire experience. The support from so many in the industry has been one of the most exciting parts. Support from my credit union, my chapter representatives and others along the way has truly been a blessing and an encouragement.

One key point stands out to me about this competition: learning. Through studying for the written exam and preparing for my oral presentation, I learned so much about the credit union movement. It's honestly a movement that I am honored to be a part of. Not only did I learn a lot about credit unions, I learned a lot about me! The general sessions as well as the breakout sessions at the CCUL Leadership Conference in Pinehurst, NC where the finals were held, allowed me to see different leadership styles and how I fit in the mix. The lessons both professional and personal are ones I would have never gained without going through this whole experience.

Having Fun at the Leadership Conference (L-R): Jenn Moore, Tarheel Chapter Protégé; Hannah McGee, Columbia Chapter Protégé; Barry Thompson, guest judge; Jon Hamby, Northwest Chapter Protégé; Micah Smith, Upstate Chapter Protégé; Deb McLean, guest judge; Joshua McKinney, Pee Dee Chapter Protégé; Corey Pace, Charleston Area Chapter Protégé; and John McGrail, guest judge.

One of the most memorable moments at Pinehurst was the Welcome Reception. As soon as I walked into the room, Hannah McGee (CUaware Protégé for the Columbia Chapter and 2014 CUaware Protégé runner-up) was the first to greet me. I don't think Hanna stopped smiling the whole weekend! She was so warm and welcoming not only to me but to all the finalists. We have been in contact with each other and talked several times since returning home from the competition.

Thanks to Will Crosswell and Troy Hall, just because the competition is over, doesn't mean that we as finalists are simply forgotten about. They designed the CUaware Protégé Mentor Program. This multi-purposed approach to employee development allows for a cross-cultural impact, encouraging the acceptance of new ideas, personal growth, and development opportunities. It provides finalists from each chapter an opportunity to align goals and aspirations between mentors and mentees of credit unions engaged in the Carolinas Credit Union League.

I am honored to have Mark Curran, CEO of Lion’s Share FCU as my mentor. I look forward to working with Mark over the next 12 months and gain as much knowledge from him as possible. We have communicated almost daily by email and have already met for lunch!

Since the competition, I am on my way to earning my Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor's certification! This will allow me to further use my knowledge to help our members who may be struggling financially.

I encourage all young professionals to take part in this wonderful opportunity in 2015. I know it will mean just as much to them as it did to me!


Jon Hamby, noting that he's had “more 'jobs' in his life than both his parents combined,” decided nearly seven years ago that he desired a career. This new journey began at a bank, lasting only three months before he left to work at Members Credit Union in 2009. Starting out in member services as a teller, Jon now serves as a financial solutions counselor where he gets the opportunity to help people—especially his generation—gain a deeper understanding of finances, credit, and budgeting.

In addition to his role at the credit union, Jon is an avid volunteer in the community. 

Tags:  CUaware Protégé  Members Credit Union 

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Guest Post: Corey Pace shares CUaware Protégé insights

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

(Editor's note: the 2014 CUaware Protégé contestants have each been invited to submit guest posts recapping their experiences and the lessons they learned along the way.  In this post, Charleston Chapter representative Corey Pace of SC FCU shares her thoughts.)

Through participating in the CUaware Protégé competition and attending the Leadership Conference this year, my eyes were opened to how our credit unions are actively carrying out the Seven Principles on a league level.  In fact, by having this competition available to young credit union professionals, the league is demonstrating Principles Five (Education, Training, and Information) and Six (Cooperation Among Cooperatives) in a very practical way.  Through the CUaware program , our league recognizes and affirms that we must cooperate to engage, educate, and train our young professionals to secure our movement’s future.

This program is designed to truly engage young professionals on many levels.  The written exam caused me to research more and become better acquainted with our origins, purpose, and resources.  Preparing and delivering my speech gave me an opportunity to contribute my expertise to the larger conversation of how to move our industry forward.  I’ve discovered how passionate I am about the credit union movement and how my part of hiring and developing the right people is crucial to driving the innovation needed for industry growth.  Lastly, participation in the Leadership Conference allowed me to meet some truly remarkable individuals: the other Protégé participants and leaders in our league.  Now I know the folks with whom I can collaborate to further the success of our league.

My job as a Talent Acquisition Representative at South Carolina Federal Credit Union is not only to acquire top talent for our open positions but to retain the wonderful folks we have working with us.  One of the ways I do this is by providing career coaching sessions to employees where we discuss their career aspirations.   I connect them with resources they need to be prepared to step into their future roles.  After participating in this program, I will be sure to share my experience with our young professionals and encourage them to participate.  Through the CUaware Protégé competition, I have learned that not only is it important to retain and develop our employee’s intellectual capital for my own credit union’s future but for the chapter, league, and the movement’s future, as well.




Originally from Lone Tree, IA, Corey Pace is a graduate of Oral Roberts University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Theological/Historical Studies. She joined the SC Federal Credit Union family in 2007 and aspires to become a leader in the credit union industry for acquiring and retaining the necessary talent to drive industry growth and success.

Corey is the credit union's talent acquisition representative.

Tags:  CUaware Protégé SC FCU 

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Principle Seven: Palmetto First FCU loan products help hungry people

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, September 22, 2014

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community. 

Hunger is on the rise in South Carolina. More than two-million people were served by Harvest Hope Food Bank last year. That’s an increase of nearly 300,000 in just 12 months.

“Harvest Hope assists people in 20 counties in the state,” said Angie Burr, Palmetto First Federal Credit Union CEO/President. “In Florence and surrounding counties, more than 851,000 people were served in 2013. When we see a need like this among our neighbors, we have to help out.”

Palmetto First is taking the initiative with a $50 donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank for each qualified auto loan or refinance through October 31. All members have to do is mention support Harvest Hope so the Food Bank receives the donation.

The mission of Harvest Hope Food Bank is to provide for the needs of hungry people by gathering and sharing quality food with dignity, compassion and education. Since 1981, Harvest Hope has increased the scope of its operations to provide food, comfort and hope to hungry individuals and families in the Pee Dee, Midlands, and Greater Greenville regions of South Carolina.

“Our commitment extends beyond the food bank to other areas of the community,” Burr added.

Palmetto First also supports The Naomi Project for women who have suffered domestic abuse and to be a safe haven for women and their families, The Florence Area Humane Society, and the Florence Area Literacy Council which will begin hosting monthly financial education courses with Palmetto First.

These projects demonstrate the credit union's commitment to building stronger, sustainable communities.

Tags:  Palmetto First FCU  Principle Seven 

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