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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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Newest group of CUDEs include two from the Carolinas

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Forty-six credit union professionals, including two from the Carolinas, became Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after being guided by dedicated program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation). The DE training was held April 18 – 24, 2018 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis.

Paul Narcisse (Coastal CU) and Skyler Jackson (Carolina Foothills FCU) were among the people who successfully earned the CUDE designation. “DE Training was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to serve others and understand how we can change and affect lives by our actions,” said Jackson. “It was a great reminder that ‘people helping people’ is the most important thing to focus on, and if you come from a place of service, you’ll never go wrong.”

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the 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.

Nearly 100 people from South Carolina and North Carolina hold the DE designation from the National Credit Union Foundation. Their passion for cooperation and dedication to service has led to the creation of the Reality of Money simulation for high school students, as well as the annual Principles and Philosophy Conference


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Carolina chapter leaders gather to network, brainstorm

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Thursday, April 19, 2018
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative principles by working with other cooperatives through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.

ready to brainstorm with pens and post-itsChapter leaders from North Carolina and South Carolina gathered in Myrtle Beach April 10-11 to share best practices, network and discuss the future. More than 35 credit union staff representing 11 chapters in the Carolinas were joined by League staff for the event. 

The workshop kicked off with a Tuesday evening reception followed by a full day of engagement and sharing Wednesday. "Chapters are a key cog in the credit union system," shared Jeff Hardin, the CCUL director of cooperative initiatives. "They connect local credit union staff together through networking and collaborative community events. The relationships they develop over time are an important part of the success of our movement."  

A few themes emerged from the interactive discussions, including discovering the unique value proposition - the why - of each individual chapter, reaching out to local credit unions that have not been as engaged in recent years, and increasing communication and collaboration efforts across the chapter system.    

And a key finding for the League: this workshop should be an annual event. "The workshop is the League's statement of support to our chapters, and it will be an annual event going forward" shared Hardin. "We support the ongoing efforts of our chapter leaders and will do all we can to help them thrive."  


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CUaware goes back to its roots, talks rise of blockchain and more in April podcast

Posted By Courtney Jackson, Thursday, April 5, 2018
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018

“CUaware Podcast” hosts Paul Narcisse and Phil Kadzielawski have returned with a new episode for April that takes listeners back to CUaware’s roots as they interview the council’s co-founders Brandon McAdams and Patrick Livingston of Coastal Credit Union. The podcast episode also includes a segment on the rise of blockchain technology and the premiere of “Real Talk with Dr. Troy” led by SC Federal Credit Union COO Troy Hall.

McAdams and Livingston, tasked with a follow-up project as part of the CUDE certification program, started CUaware back in 2011 with a simple premise to fill a gap that exists within the credit union industry: staff often not knowing what makes credit unions and cooperatives unique and special. So, they started to host afterhours meetups to bring credit union professionals in the Triangle together for networking and knowledge exchange.

Coastal Credit Union's Patrick Livingston (left) and Brandon McAdams (right) were honored with the 2014 Cooperative Spirit Award by the National Credit Union Foundation for creating CUaware. Photo credit: Coastal CU

“We reached out to folks that were DE graduates in the area as well as people that we worked with and brought them in and said, ‘hey, we’re going to be at a local watering hole after work, just come and talk,” recalled McAdams.

“We also started off with buy-in from folks,” Livingston added. “Working with our management team and other credit unions’ management teams, and saying, ‘this is something that you want to participate in.’ So, it became an opportunity for real networking to happen.”

Later in the interview McAdams reflected on the growth of the CUaware Council, remarking on how they quickly realized this program had great potential to expand and make even more of an impact on the lives of professionals in the Carolinas and beyond.

“Once we realized that people were coming back and people in other areas wanted something similar, we realized that…the two of our efforts weren’t enough to keep up with demand," said McAdams. "We needed some funding, to expand out and we looked at each other realizing, this was that next step. Now, we have the League involved, CEOs coming and we have a lot of people’s attention and we don’t want to mess up."

CUaware today has five active regional councils in both states, hosting events throughout the year focused on four central themes: education, volunteerism, protégé, and advocacy. The League’s existing Protégé Competition was also added to the CUaware “family” in 2014 and has since expanded, adding a Protégé Mentor program for sustained career development for CU professionals of all ages.

Kadzielawski and Narcisse are both past participants in the Protégé programs, and have shared in a past episode the impact these CUaware programs have had on their own careers and lives.

For McAdams and Livingston, CUaware was among their first experiences serving in a strong leadership role at a time when their careers were just beginning. And from then to now, they carry the lessons of that experience into their roles at the credit union today.

“In my role at the time, I was not managing anybody or had a marketing background,” McAdams continued. “CUaware was an opportunity for me to lead and show a different skill set. It’s not just a networking opportunity.”

“It’s allowed me to explore creativity [at my job] in way that’s better than what it would have been without the experience of going through that,” Livingston added.

Listen to the full interview and more on CUaware’s podcast page or access the podcast on iTunes here. Lastly, if you have a podcast topic or suggestion, please contact Paul, Phil or Jeff Hardin using the email links on the podcast page.

Tags:  Coastal Credit Union  Coastal FCU  Credit Union Development Education  Credit Union Development Educators  CUaware  CUaware Protégé  CUaware Protégé Mentor program  CUDE 

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FiCEP program sets SC Telco's Andrea Finley in new career direction

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, March 19, 2018
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018

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.

(Editor's note: registration is open through April 20 for the 2018 FiCEP program. This story shares the impact the 2017 FiCEP program is having on one credit union.)  

"Through this course, not only did I learn the psychological reasons why people make the financial decisions they make but also how these daily decisions can have a major impact on someone’s financial life," SC Telco FCU Financial Literacy Coordinator Andrea Finley said of the FiCEP program.

Last year, the Carolinas Credit Union League partnered with CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation to offer credit union staff the Enhanced Financial Counseling Program (FiCEP). Nearly 40 staff from the Carolinas successfully completed the FiCEP program and earned their Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation.  

The FiCEP program provides credit union staff with a comprehensive understanding of how to assist members in a variety of financial situations, including emergencies and non-emergencies, as well as in all life stages. Another key benefit: it gives credit unions the opportunity to design a strategic and thoughtful approach to improving member financial capability through counseling. 

SC Telco FCU, which sent three employees through the 2017 FiCEP program, is one credit union stepping in to that strategic opportunity. The credit union recently promoted Andrea Finley into a newly-created Financial Literacy Coordinator position.

In this new position, Finley will be responsible for creating financial literacy programs and activities for the members of SC Telco, as well as the community. “It is increasingly important that we not only serve the immediate financial needs of our members, but that we also continue to educate the community on financial literacy, as well,” said SC Telco CEO Steve Harkins. 

 Formerly a recovery specialist at the credit union, Finley notes that the skills she learned in FiCEP opened up the opportunity to lead the credit union forward in this key area. “I learned the right tools to inspire members to take control of their financial freedom and overcome difficulties with confidence," Finley shared. "Through this course, not only did I learn the psychological reasons why people make the financial decisions they make but also how these daily decisions can have a major impact on someone’s financial life."

The FiCEP program includes eight webinar-based self-study modules, as well as two in-person training days. The 2018 program begins May 24 with an orientation webinar and concludes October 10.  The registration deadline is April 20 to participate in the 2018 program year. 

Jeremiah Mooney, an assistant collections and recovery manager at SC Telco, echoed Finley's experience in the program. He noted the class "covered the importance of various intangible skills for financial counselors, such as listening well to our members, showing empathy, and extending hope in difficult financial situations. I remain very excited to use these skills on a daily basis in serving our members.” 

If you are interested in the 2018 FiCEP program, please click here for more details. For specific questions, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063). 



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Allegacy partnership aims to improve physical, financial health

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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.

Pictured: Allegacy Federal Credit Union President/CEO Cathy J. Pace (left) and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center CEO Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D. at the new WellQ facility in Winston-Salem.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Allegacy Federal Credit Union are pleased to announce an innovative partnership – believed to be the first of its kind in the country – focused on improving both the physical and financial wellbeing of people in our community.

WellQ, located at 575 N. Patterson Avenue next to the Allegacy financial center at Biotech Place in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, is a membership-based service that provides access to convenient high-quality health care for everyday illnesses and wellness needs, along with wellness and financial coaching and education.

Members will enjoy same day treatment of minor illnesses such as strep throat, upper respiratory illnesses, poison ivy and pink eye, for just $35 per visit. Financial benefits include membership at Allegacy Federal Credit Union with an AllHealth Wellness Savings Account, offering higher-than-market dividends, health care financial advising, no-obligation Healthcare Financial Planning to help plan for current and future health care costs and on-site financial education classes.

“There is a strong correlation between people’s physical and financial wellbeing as financial stress can negatively impact their physical health and vice versa,” said Cathy J. Pace, President and CEO, Allegacy Federal Credit Union. “Healthcare expense can be one of the top costs for families and a WellQ membership can be a vital part of financial planning for those who need an affordable, convenient place to go for minor illnesses, as well as valuable financial education and planning assistance.”

Additional health benefits include complimentary annual wellness exams and monitoring of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, health screenings, wellness classes and access to 24-hour virtual visits. A convenient onsite visit-related pharmacy is stocked with common prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

“The clinic at WellQ is not designed to be a substitute for a primary care provider, but rather as a convenience that complements a person’s existing primary care provider and supports the physical and financial wellbeing of members,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Interim Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine. “The Allegacy – Wake Forest Baptist partnership is about becoming champions for improving the overall health and wellbeing of the folks who live and work in our community.”

The clinic at WellQ is operated by Wake WellQ, LLC with experienced, licensed providers from Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Insurance is not accepted for clinic appointments or visit-related prescriptions at the onsite pharmacy, appointments are made online or through a smartphone app, and payment is made only with credit or debit cards, including those attached to Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts.

At least one physician assistant will be on site along with other clinical and office staff, including staff that will help guide members’ financial wellness and healthcare financial planning.

Annual membership for an individual is $199 and $249 for a family. Up to two adults and children/dependents ages 2-21 who share a household are included in the family membership. Membership may be free to individuals if their employer opts to add WellQ as a corporate benefit. 

Tags:  Principle Seven 

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