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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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Guest post: Hannah McGee shares CUaware Protégé insights

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, September 10, 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, Columbia Chapter representative and Protégé runner-up Hannah McGee of Palmetto Citizens FCU shares her thoughts.)

This experience has been fantastic in so many ways. Through studying for the written exam, I gained a better understanding of the Credit Union movement in the world as well as the Carolinas. Providing the history of North and South Carolina gives me an idea of where we have been as well as our goals for the future.

The Seven Principles Blog is my favorite part of the exam materials. I enjoyed discussing the simulations in Winston-Salem with Jon Hamby (CUaware Protégé for the Northwest Chapter) to gain further understanding of what his chapter is doing to promote financial literacy. Throughout many conversations, I found myself recalling entries from the Seven Principles Blog and others being impressed that I remembered this entry that pertained to their Credit Union or Chapter.

The presentation was a fantastic experience as well. Public speaking is something that I love to do. Finding one topic from the large variety was probably my biggest challenge. Once I decided on my topic, however, the rest fell into place. I found myself practicing several phrases pertaining to the credit union movement. Not all of these phrases were used in the presentation, however, putting my thoughts into words has made it easier to explain the credit union movement to my friends, family and members.

I am so excited to have been “adopted” by Terri Hendrix with Carolina Foothills Credit Union! Providing seasoned professionals in the industry helps personify where the industry has been, where we are right now, and the future goals that we want to have achieved.

Finally, the experience in Pinehurst was one to remember. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting other credit union professionals and dedicated volunteers. Attending the breakout sessions provided a better understanding of the industry and everyone else’s shared goal of providing excellent service to members and our colleagues. In addition, I found myself making some goals of my own.

Amanda Crawford, who placed second runner up last year, mentioned a young professionals’ part of the chapter that she had worked with Will Crosswell to manage. I wouldn’t mind getting with others in the Columbia Chapter to start something similar.

Micah Smith (2014 CUaware Protégé) and I have been in contact. We are looking to collaborate on many ideas for our chapters, the Protégé Program, as well as discuss how we will be utilizing our scholarships.

This was a career-enhancing experience and I am very thankful to have so many people supporting me and providing me the resources to get to where I did.


Born and raised in Columbia, S.C., Hannah graduated from Columbia College in 2012 with a bachelor’s in communication and a particular interest in political communication. Her many accomplishments during her time at Columbia College include being selected as the Holocaust Remembrance speaker, presenting at the Carolinas Communication Association and Southern States Communication Association conferences, and returning as the 2012 Student Leader of the Year speaker.

Hannah serves as a credit specialist for Palmetto Citizens FCU.

Tags:  CUaware Protégé  Palmetto Citizens FCU 

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Principle One: Hub City Co-op kicks off stretch funding drive

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Principle : 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 businesses, they are committed to investing in the community.

Hub City Co-op, which plans to open for business in downtown Spartanburg next year, kicks off its stretch funding drive this week with an event at the Refuel Wine Bar. The kickoff celebration happens Thursday evening, September 4 from 5:30 until 8:30 pm. (You may RSVP to attend by clicking here.)

The goal of the fundraising campaign is to recruit new members and investors, while raising $350,000 toward beginning operations in 2015. The stretch campaign runs through the end of October and if successful, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the City of Spartanburg.

To follow the progress of the campaign, you may foll the co-op's Twitter account (@HubCityCo_op) and look for the hash tags #CityChallengeHCC and #filltheapple. You will also find a full list of upcoming events on the Hub City web site.

"The Hub City Co-Op is an important project for Downtown Spartanburg, and the surrounding region," notes Mayor Junie White. "As we continue to work on developing our downtown, we need a place where people can shop for groceries and other essential items. This project, when completed and opened, will lead to further investment in our downtown area."

Tags:  Hub City Co-op 

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Principle Seven: Credit unions already planning CU Lunch Local events

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

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

Credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina are already making plans to participate in CU Lunch Local. The event, which takes place Tuesday, October 14, 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 are already making plans to participate. In addition to encouraging employees to support local businesses, VITAL FCU in Spartanburg plans to surprise some lucky customers at a local eatery 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. The CU Lunch Local campaign is one more way we can show our support for the local businesses that help make up our community."

Meanwhile, Coastal FCU in the Triangle-area of North Carolina plans to engage its staff and members, encouraging them to support businesses that are members of the credit union.  In addition, Coastal encourages other Triangle-based credit unions to get involved in the day's events.

"Many of our employees and members go out for lunch, certainly at least once a week," shared Coastal FCU Company Spokesperson Joe Mecca. "So why not get together and say, 'Let's all go out on the same day, and let's make a big impact by supporting some of the businesses that help keep the credit union strong.'? "

"CU Lunch Local is a great concept because it calls attention to local businesses, is fun, and gives each credit union the flexibility to design its approach to the day based on its own specific needs," shared Jeff Hardin, CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives. "CU Lunch Local also spotlights the credit union commitment to building sustainable communities 365 days a year." 

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  Principle Seven  VITAL FCU 

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Principle Seven: CU Lunch Local an opportunity to shine

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

As local financial institutions owned by their members, credit unions appreciate the value of community. On Tuesday, October 14, staff at credit unions in the Carolinas have a unique opportunity to demonstrate their support of local businesses.

On that day, credit unions are encouraged to participate in CU Lunch Local, a grassroots effort to support locally-owned businesses for lunch. The concept is pretty straightforward - credit unions organize a "cash mob" and head to a locally-owned restaurant. (A cash mob is a group that organizes ahead of time and selects a place to meet at a designated time to shop and spend.)  

Credit unions in North and South Carolina are encouraged to support CU Lunch Local by "liking" the event Facebook page, and to begin planning the impact you and your friends would like to have on that day. The Carolinas Credit Union League also encourages you to take pictures the day of the event and share them with us! We'll be recapping the day's events later in October. 

Tags:  CU Lunch Local  Principle Seven 

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Principle Six: CUaware founders receive Cooperative Spirit Award

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, August 22, 2014
Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2014
CUaware founders Patrick Livingston (left) and Brandon McAdams are pictured with the Cooperative Spirit Award from the National CU Foundation.
Principle Six: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.

(Editor's note: the following originally appeared in the Coastal FCU Beacon  and is republished with the permission of the credit union.)

Coastal Federal Credit Union employees Patrick Livingston and Brandon McAdams have earned the 2014 Cooperative Spirit Award from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Development Education Program. Livingston and McAdams are being recognized for their efforts in creating CUaware (, an educational networking council within the Carolinas Credit Union League, aimed at connecting and educating employees from across credit unions. The award was presented on August 14 during the annual Development Educators Workshop, in Austin, TX.

Livingston, Director of Business Transformation and McAdams, Consumer Lending Product Development Manager, came up with the idea for CUaware after completing the Development Educator training program in 2011.

“We saw a networking gap in the industry. We set out to introduce credit union staff, at all levels, to learn the cooperative principles that guide credit unions in an informal and fun way,” said Livingston.

“We focused our efforts around three concepts: learn, share and grow,” added McAdams. “It was important that we capitalized on the cooperative nature of credit unions and pulled everyone together to better our organizations and help connect our movement at a local level.”

CUaware began with organized events between Coastal employees and other Triangle credit unions. It soon expanded to include the Winston-Salem area, and is now coordinated by volunteers from several credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina who bring credit union employees together for programs, networking opportunities and community service projects throughout both states.

Tags:  Coastal FCU  CUaware  Principle Six 

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