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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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CUaware spotlights volunteerism with May events

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, May 08, 2015
Updated: Friday, May 08, 2015

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

Following a successful series of educational events held across the Carolinas in January, CUaware plans to spotlight volunteerism in the month of May! Councils in both Carolinas are putting the final touches on what is sure to be a memorable set of events.

On May 12, the Lowcountry heads to the Eagle Harbor Ranch for a Community Give Back. Credit unions across the Lowcountry plan to combine forces to do a variety of terrific projects to benefit Eagle Harbor, a place of refuge and shelter for children ages 4 to 21 who are orphaned, neglected, abused and abandoned. It is their desire to empower each child to rise above their past through love, structure and an opportunity to succeed in life. Event details are available here.    

On May 19, the Triad CUaware Council will host a lunch & learn spotlighting the reasons why credit unions give back to their communities. The session takes place at Truliant Pavilion (3200 Truliant Way in Winston-Salem) from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm.

The event opens with credit union staff in attendance sharing what volunteer and community service projects their credit unions support and why. Guest speaker Mark Curran (Lion's Share FCU CEO) will then talk about the credit union's community involvement. The event continues with Carolinas CU Foundation CEO John McGrail introducing the Foundation's latest project with Victory Junction - Reach

Lunch will be provided and there is no charge to attend. The Triad Council's May event will be followed by a group volunteer project over the summer. Please contact Laura Engle for more information or to register. Deadline to register is May 18.

On May 26, the Pee Dee Council plans a spotlight on volunteerism. Details are still being developed as of this writing. Please contact Will Crosswell for more information, or you may RSVP by clicking here

SAVE THE DATE! On May 28, the Triangle Council will host an evening event at Mia Francesca Trattoria. The event will celebrate CUaware's four year anniversary, be an opportunity to hear more about upcoming volunteer events, and hear the timeline for selecting the CUaware Protégé for the chapter. Please direct questions to Brandon McAdams.

Tags:  CUaware  Principle Seven 

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Credit unions "get out" to support local communities

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, April 27, 2015

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

With winter's chill quickly fading from view, credit unions in both Carolinas are heading outdoors to support their local communities in the month of May. Two credit union chapters are getting into the swing of spring with golf tournaments, while the CUaware Lowcountry May event features an outdoor volunteer event.

The Piedmont Chapter plans to raise funds for the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation through its annual charity golf outing on May 8. The event will be held at The Tradition Golf Club. Registration opens at 8:00 am with a shotgun start planned for 9:00 am. For complete details, please click here.

The Western Chapter also plans to make some green by hitting the greens. On May 12 the chapter will hold its first-ever golf outing at the Etowah Golf Course. Registration opens at 11:30 am with a shotgun start at 12:30 pm. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Eblen Charities Food for Thought program, a project the chapter has supported for many years. For more details, please click here.   

Meanwhile, the Lowcountry Council of CUaware plans an outdoor volunteer event to benefit the Eagle Harbor Ranch. The ranch is a place of shelter and refuge for children ages 4 - 21 who have suffered abuse or neglect. Credit unions from the Lowcountry will help to assemble a horse fence, paint a barn & house, plus do some warehouse work. It all starts on May 12 at 9:00 am and runs until 3:00 pm. For complete details, please click here.    

Tags:  Principle Seven 

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Principles & Philosophy Conference dates, venue set

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, April 27, 2015

The Principles & Philosophy Conference is coming to Greenville, SC November 1-3, 2015! Now entering its sixth year, the conference educates credit union staff about the history of the cooperative and credit union movements, shares the key differences between credit unions and banks, and offers attendees a chance to learn about the changes in the financial services industry.

The conference will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in beautiful downtown Greenville after five years in Winston-Salem. "The conference this year will have a different look and feel, but will offer the same, high quality professional development experience as before," shared Jeff Hardin, the CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives.

Registration for the conference will be opening soon. To learn more about the conference, please click here. In the meantime, please contact Jeff Hardin if you have any questions.   

Tags:  Principles and Philosophy Conference 

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The extra mile: helping senior members when it matters most

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, April 17, 2015

A truly shocking story crossed my desk this morning and I thought it worthy of sharing: Bank of America tried to foreclose on an older woman who was having health problems. While that (sadly) doesn't sound terribly unusual, this fact is: unbeknownst to Laura Biggs, the woman in question, the mortgage was insured and she had continued to pay the premiums on the policy for years after her husband had died.

The bank moved to seize a widow's home. But it didn't tell her the loan was insured.

For more than a decade after her husband died, Laura Coleman Biggs paid her mortgage to a Bank of America subsidiary. She was never told...that her husband had actually protected her against foreclosure.

The story itself is really complex and worth an investment of your time.

The point of this post is not to go on the attack, however this is not a good look for the bank. It seems pretty clear that no one servicing the mortgage bothered to ask a very simple question along the way: what if Ms. Biggs was my mother? 

When I conduct Learning Map events with credit union staff and we discuss the issue of women in finance, the issue of a surviving spouse encountering all sorts of financial difficulties really resonates. For some widows (and in some cases, widowers) it may be understanding the basics: where are all the accounts and how do I access the money? Others might face a more serious challenge like fraud, foreclosure or elder abuse.

Teaching an 80-year-old how to write a check for the first time is one thing, and then you see cases like Ms. Biggs and you realize the difference you can make in someone's life. Just by asking the right questions.

We're all busy and helping members untangle their finances isn't always easy - especially when the member doesn't fully grasp their own financial picture. But I do hope Laura Biggs' story serves to remind us that while the financial questions are important to get to, the human questions matter as well.

Be the person that asks, "What if this member was my mother?"

Tags:  People Helping People 

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Credit unions provide "real life" budgeting experience

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Thursday, April 16, 2015

Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions provide education to their employees, members and the communities they serve.

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.

Sights, sounds and thoughts from the reality fair events in Columbia and Raleigh.

As part of Financial Literacy Month, the League partnered with credit unions across the Carolinas to provide an eye-opening financial lesson to more than 160 students. The events took place in Raleigh (April 14) and Columbia (April 15). You can read more about these events in this linked news story.

While the students learned critical budgeting and life lessons that will serve them well in the years to come, credit union volunteers got to see how valuable these "reality fair" events can be. There are a variety of reality fair models available, including Mad City Money (used in the Raleigh event) and the Reality of Money (used in Columbia). 

The Reality of Money was created by a group of Credit Union Development Educators in North Carolina and South Carolina three years ago, and is available for credit unions in the Carolinas to use free-of-charge. You can find out more about the Reality of Money by visiting the linked page on the League web site. To download the materials, you simply need to log in to the web site, go to the linked page and download the materials that appear at the bottom. 

Thanks to all the credit unions that took time to partner together to create these meaningful and valuable events this week - and thank you to all credit unions that honor the Fifth Cooperative Principle by providing financial education to members and communities across the Carolinas!  

Tags:  Credit Unions  Principle Five  Principle Six  Reality of Money 

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