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CUNA Awards: SC credit unions nationally recognized for embodying CU philosophy

Wednesday, March 4, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Two SC credit unions bring home CUNA Awards; portal for 2020 award entries open through June 30


The passion and spirit of the credit union industry was heartily celebrated at CUNA’s awards ceremony on Thursday, February 27 at the 2020 CUNA GAC which recognized the 2019 Maxwell, Herring, and Desjardins national award winners.

Among this year’s honorees were two credit unions from the Carolinas: Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union, who won first place in its asset category for the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award; and Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union, who won second place in its asset category for the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award.

Learn more about the amazing initiatives these credit unions have implemented that demonstrate the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” through their actions. View the full report on all of the 2019 CUNA Award winners here.


CUNA Award National Winners
2019 LOUISE HERRING | Philosophy in Action Award


Carolina Foothills staff accepting 2019 CUNA Award

FIRST PLACE | Carolina Foothills FCU (Spartanburg, SC)

Carolina Foothills Boosts Start-ups in Spartanburg

Emerge supporters in group photo
Carolina Foothills FCU partnered with Emerge, an African American Business Incubator.

As a strategy to help accomplish one of the City of Spartanburg’s primary goals of addressing the community’s long-time racial and class disparities, Carolina Foothills FCU partnered with the city to increase the number of African American businesses. Spartanburg has a population of 38,000 people, of which 49 percent are African American. Of the 4,000+ businesses in Spartanburg, only 20 percent are owned by African Americans.

The partnership created Emerge, the African American Business Incubator program. The city agreed to keep a $25,000 deposit at the credit union as a loan-loss reserve fund and Carolina Foothills agreed to grant micro loans in the amount of $1,000 to $15,000 for start-ups, up to a total loan fund of $250,000. To address the high failure rate of small businesses, the city instituted a 10-week training program for African Americans seeking to start or enhance their businesses.

In the first nine months of the program, the credit union provided $50,000 in loans to four Emerge businesses. Other loans are in the pipeline as the reputation of Carolina Foothills as a small business expert grows, and word of mouth continues to bring people in. The credit union exceeded its micro-initiative lending goal by 271 percent, closing $407,099 in loans by mid-year 2019.

Read more »


Carolina Trust staff accepting 2019 CUNA Award


SECOND PLACE | Carolina Trust FCU (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Carolina Trust Aids Hurricane Victims

Carolina Trust letter to members post-Florence
A letter sent by Carolina Trust FCU to members, explaining Hurricane Florence Assistance efforts.

When Hurricane Florence brought record-breaking rainfall to the Carolina coastal and inland communities that resulted in extensive flooding, Carolina Trust FCU implemented financial assistance programs for members impacted by the storm. To assist members with storm-related restoration efforts, the credit union offered a disaster relief loan of up to $3,000 with a fixed rate of 1.99% APR and a maximum term of 24 months.

Members could qualify for the loan by providing proof of loss, for example, a copy of an insurance claim, medical bill from the recovery time frame, verification from an employer of time lost at work, or an invoice from repair companies. In addition, the credit union waived all ATM fees incurred between September 13 and September 16 in the affected areas, as well as extended a 10-day grace period with no penalties and no credit bureau reporting for members who missed their loan payments between September 13 and September 17.

Read more »


How the CUNA Awards Works

Credit unions first participate in the CUNA Awards by submitting their entries through the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation via the CUNA Awards online portal. A regional committee, coordinated by the Foundation, then determines state-level award recipients. Winners from the state-level program are then honored at the Carolinas Foundation’s Awards Gala at the Carolinas Credit Union League’s LAUNCH conference, after which state-level first-place winners go on to compete in CUNA’s national award program.

Submit your entries by June 30, 2020 for the 2020 CUNA Awards! Questions? Contact Carolinas Credit Union Foundation President Lauren Whaley at

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