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Edward Filene Credit Union Awards for Performance Excellence - Great Britain & Ireland

Supreme Award for Social Entrepreneurship - Prince Bishops Community Bank, Stanley, Co.Durham

The Supreme Award for Great Britain and Ireland – given to the highest aggregate score achieved across all Award categories.  Having been Runner Up in 2016 and raising its competencies year on year with the highly beneficial effect of improving its services for its owner-members, Prince Bishops Community Bank won a record number of categories and achieved the highest aggregate score overall.

Single Benefactor of the Year (Organisation) - Karbon Homes nominated by Prince Bishops Community Bank
Karbon Homes received this Award in acknowledgement of their support of PBCB. As one of the largest Housing Associations in North England, it’s been a long term benefactor to PBCB, having representation on the PBCB Board and supporting it by providing, without cost, the part time services of a number of professionals, including their Management Accountant, Business Development Management, ICT services and Marketing.
Single Benefactor of the Year (Individual) - Ian Gylee, President, Dragonsavers Credit Union Ltd, Treorchy, Wales

Having been involved with the credit union movement since 1996 and following the merger of five credit unions in the county borough in 2003, Ian Gylee continued to serve on the Board of Directors and accepted the position of President, still volunteering in his local office each week, including working on the counter. His excellent rapport with members, staff and fellow Directors is coupled with his ability to discern when to lead and when to let others take responsibility, which has seen Dragonsavers thrive.

Chief Executive Officer or General Manager of a Credit Union - Amanda Ivey, CEO, Commsave Credit Union Ltd, Northampton

Appointed Commsave’s General Manager in 2005, Amanda Ivey has been responsible for phenomenal growth.  By investing in a Communications Officer and Business Development Officer and improved communication with all staff through a “Workplace Champions” network, over 3 years net membership increased by 74%. Through her own personal development, Amanda leads the way in encouraging CPD in all staff, as well as internal promotions through Commsave’s own apprenticeship scheme. 

Young Credit Union Leader, either paid or unpaid, aged 17-35 years in 2017 - Bethany Moss, South Yorkshire Credit Union Ltd, Doncaster

Joining SYCU 2 years ago, Beth’s ability to assimilate information quickly and accurately, saw her move into the Special Projects Team - this reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer, the team has no set responsibilities, able to react quickly to any unforeseen situations.  Her projects include a highly successful Tenant Support Scheme; addressing difficulties in implementing Universal Credit; staff training and community outreach.

Customer Services Officer or Teller of the Year 2017 - Christine Bates, Dragonsavers Credit Union Ltd, Treorchy, Wales

After many years with Dragonsavers, in 2014 Chris was promoted to Head Office Supervisor, developing her own leadership skills and encouraging development in others.  Responsible for the Head Office admin staff, she also supports the Finance Manager with the back office accountancy function.  Quoted as “Professional, dedicated, trustworthy, disciplined and resilient given the responsibility of a demanding office”, Chris is also known for being very approachable.

Hosting Saving Schemes for Primary and Secondary School pupils - Prince Bishops Community Bank, Stanley, Co.Durham

Prince Bishops Community Bank has a history of working with numerous primary schools in its Common Bond area, now including two academy secondary schools with Money Management on their curriculum; encouraging a saving rather than a credit culture, setting them on a non-credit path. Working with a local housing provider, PBCB assists in the delivery of ‘Smart Money‘ courses.   Check out their film here

Achieving Business Growth using its own resources - Commsave Credit Union Ltd, Northampton

Commsave’s successes include increasing income - through a range of short term investment accounts; reducing bad debt/writeoffs - supporting owner-members in difficulties through their Member Solutions team; increasing membership by investing in Communications and Business Development Officers, improving communication via a network of Workplace Champions and utilising social media.  Through monthly and annual surveys, encouraging and acting on owner-members’ feedback.

Trading and Innovation using its own resources or others obtained from the private sector - Prince Bishops Community Bank, Stanley, Co.Durham

Prince Bishops Community Bank demonstrated innovative ideas, such as providing green energy loans in areas where there are housing energy, renewal and external insulation programmes are being instigated and partnership with “Smarterbuys” Store - a stand-alone Charity - providing an ethical alternative to high interest weekly payment stores with a save-as-you-pay element. When an HP agreement is taken out, a customer automatically becomes a member of PBCB and part of the weekly payment (automatically included in the customer’s weekly loan payment) is deposited into their credit union savings account.

A credit union serving as a financial incubator for seed, small and medium enterprises operated by its owner-members - Killarney Credit Union Ltd, Co.Kerry, Ireland

Killarney supports micro and small businesses as well the agri-market in the South Kerry region, focusing on small scale businesses such as tradespeople, retail, services, hospitality and farming, helping develop businesses with low environmental impact, protecting the vital tourism industry and providing local employment in the county.  Through links with local grant aid agencies, entrepreneurs are supported with business skills and training needs the credit union cannot offer. While many credit unions are reluctant to enter business lending due to possible high risks, the many benefits to the local economy outweigh the negatives and keep the credit union at the forefront in supporting the local economy. 

Credit union advocacy with local and national politicians - Joint Winners: Dragonsavers Credit Union Ltd and Prince Bishops Community Bank

Along with other winning credit unions, both Prince Bishops and Dragonsavers have nurtured close contacts with local constituent MPs and dignatories, their local councils, etc. gaining support in bringing the benefits of credit unions to their communities.  The Judges were impressed by Prince Bishops work assisting Guy Opperman, MP, in setting up two credit unions in the north east.  Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru was filmed enthusiastically supporting Dragonsavers; it also works closely with the Welsh Assembly.

Community mobilisation and outreach - Killarney Credit Union Ltd, Co.Kerry, Ireland

As a community led organisation, Killarney is heavily involved in local sponsorship and promotion, each year giving over €20,000 in sponsorship to local clubs, charities, events and organisations, a detailed list on its website includes local sports clubs, schools, charities, events and fundraisers.

In April 2017, launching the "Your Club, Your Credit Union" competition, with the aim of encouraging a younger membership (18 to 35). The focus was on getting local sports clubs’ members to join the credit union in return for the chance of winning €1,000 of sports equipment or cash alternative for their club of choice. The various sports clubs (football, hurling, basketball, golf, tennis, rugby) made videos encouraging their club members to join up and nominate their club to win the prize; publicised via social media with promotional material also in local schools.

Dispensing financial education to the entire Common Bond - Prince Bishops Community Bank, Stanley, Co.Durham

Prince Bishops’ successful methods included running a home energy service, advising on how to switch to better tariffs and applying for the Warm Home Discount.  Attending local housing association Tenant Welcome days.  Advising offenders in HMP Prisons via the “Through The Gate” programme, helping them to manage their money, build up savings and providing access to PBCB’s services on release. Also, through the Payroll Deduction Scheme, contact was made with owner-members in financial difficulties, who were offered support and where relevant low cost loans, assisting them with paying off payday lenders.

Use of the media - Salford Credit Union Ltd, Salford, Greater Manchester

See the attached film, highlighting how Salford increased membership by engaging in all aspects of social media, radio features and articles in Council publications and other local magazines.  Taking every opportunity to engage with local people and community leaders, Directors, volunteers and staff wear T-shirts advertising the credit union at all community events.

During a “Week of Awareness” in 2016 (coinciding with International Credit Union Day), a “smoothie cycle” with the headline “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Salford”, provided a range of PR stunts, creating photo opportunities with the Mayor, local MPs, councillors etc, as well as publicity in the local press and on local radio.  

Making a film describing the Award winning activity of an individual or credit union - Justine Lynn Limocon, PhDE, Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative, Cebu City, Philippines

Born of a Co-op leader parents, Justine followed their footsteps. At just 13, she was selected to form and organize the “Coop Youth Planet” (CYP) a youth program of Lamac Multi-purpose Co-operative, rising through its ranks to Chairperson.  This film, describes the work of the Coop Youth Planet.  See “Biden DE of the Year from Asia” for more about Justine.

Beacon Credit Union - Commsave Credit Union Ltd, Northampton

By winning the Beacon Credit Union Award, Commsave Credit Union demonstrated it met many of the laid down criterie, i.e.

  • It had won at least one other Filene Award category
  • It had provided a record of exemplary performance
  • It had a number of Development Educators in its ranks, and
  • it engaged in a variety of impressive community development activities outside the credit union, e.g. the charitable organisation "LendWithCare" that makes loans empowering social entrepreneurs worldwide to develop their own businesses


Asia - Justine Lynn Limocon, PhDE, Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative, Cebu City, Philippines

Among her many endeavours at the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), Justine was active in setting up Lamac's Youth Programme (CYP) Performing Arts & Production House, originally performing at Lamac’s special events, they now perform at community/church related activities, national and international events, earning fees to repay their mother co-op, Lamac MPC, for their input and support. 
She currently heads up the Business Development Center Department. One of its objectives is to improve “Small Enterprise” (SE) businesses, e.g. focusing on agri-enterprises, providing training to coop member farmers on sustainable production, enterprise and profit. The Co-op now has a cluster of vegetable, cacao, coconut, dairy, cassava and livestock farmers and the Lamac MPC provides support on marketing and taking production direct to the consumers’ table.

Australasia - Paul Dawson, ACDE, First Choice Credit Union Ltd, Orange, NSW, Australia

As General Manager of First Choice Credit Union, Paul was a Founding Executive Member of Small Australian Mutuals, providing industry representation, negotiation and advocacy services to small credit unions. As part of this, he sits on the RediATM* Advisory Council, a collective of banks and credit unions offering similar benefits and ATM access to the biggest banks.  

As a DE, Paul is a volunteer mentor on the Asian Development Educator (ACDE) courses run by the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) in Bangkok, Thailand and has also been a regular presenter, speaker and moderator at ACCU Forums since 2011. He encouraged his Credit Union to be a supporter member of ACCU and its credit union development work in Myanmar, Laos PDR and Bhutan; it is now a part of the Australian Mutuals Foundation (AMF) that is carrying on this support for ACCU and also funds young Australian credit unionists to attend ACDE.

The Caribbean - Carla Decker, CUDE, DEUK, CaribDE, CanadaDE (from Washington, DC, USA) - Academic Director & Lead Facilitator, CaribDE

Carla Decker is the President/CEO of District Government Employees (DC) Federal Credit Union (DGEFCU) since 2001.  Committed to addressing the financial needs of the local immigrant and under-served community, Carla is a founding member of ACCESO and the Network of Latino Credit Unions & Professionals (NLCUP).  Graduating CUDE in 1997, DEUK in 2007, she's mentored and facilitated at least 5 US-CUDE classes, and was elected to the Advisory Council of the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) Development Education program.

Carla has designed, developed and co-delivered the co-operative leadership curricula for the Caribbean Credit Union Development Education program (CaribDE) since May 2010 - that is 25 of CaribDE’s 26 classes to date including the inaugural CanadaDE in 2017. It's the emphasis placed on ‘completing postgraduate projects’ that differentiates CaribDE from other DE programmes and is partly attributable to her approach to teaching leadership development. By repeatedly exhorting successive cohorts of graduates to “conjure up your own creative ideas in which we could make a difference”, she's been the main inspiration behind the growing number diligently pursuing DE Projects.

Europe - Christina Stoneman, ACDE, Dragonsavers Credit Union Ltd, Treorchy, Wales

Christina has worked in the credit union movement since 2001, developing an excellent rapport with members, staff, board and a network of external contacts, she has an ability to communicate on any level and is also a bi-lingual Welsh speaker, essential when dealing with members whose first language is Welsh. Dragonsavers is the only Credit Union in Wales to have ATM’s on their offices in two towns where all the banks have closed.  In addition, she has established ties with the University of South Wales so students on the Forensic Accounting Degree course can apply to join the Dragonsavers' Supervisory Committee, attend for work experience and can add these skills to their CV’s.  

Unafraid to grasp new opportunities wholeheartedly, in 2016, she graduated the DE Asia program in Bangkok, Thailand, having been awarded a Pell Scholarship.  This experience inspired her DE project - to encourage a healthy lifestyle for her owner-members; consulting with the Leisure Services Department of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, she negotiated preferential rates of £10 p.m, (discounted from £40) for owner-members and their families to use leisure facilities,


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