NCUF Announces 2008 Wegner Award Recipients

2008 Wegner Awards logoBob Hoel, Harriet May, and the State Employees Credit Union Foundation in North Carolina have been selected as the recipients of the credit union movement’s highest national honors: the 20th Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards sponsored by the National Credit Union Foundation.

“These three recipients exemplify the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’” says Bob Schumacher, Chair of the NCUF Awards and Recognition Committee. “Their talents and dedication to the spirit of cooperation show us that a belief in an idea and the tenacity to make it a reality can truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

Lifetime Achievement: Bob Hoel

Bob Hoel portraitDr. Robert Hoel, Ph.D. and a Filene Fellow now residing in Middleton, Wisconsin, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his body of research in financial institutions, marketing strategy, and consumer analysis. During his tenure as Executive Director of the Filene Research Institute in Madison, Wis., Hoel orchestrated the accumulation of research that has transformed into real benefits for credit unions and consumers.

Hoel led the creation of the Center for Credit Union Innovation, which was formed to translate research into actionable initiatives. Among those initiatives was the pilot of REAL Solutions, a program that has changed the way consumers use alternative financial services – and made them more affordable through credit unions.

From the Center for Innovation evolved i3 -- “Ideas, Innovation, Implementation”. i3 has grown into a major incubator of new products and services and a source of emerging leadership for credit unions.

Hoel was also instrumental in research that helped prompt the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998. He delivered a Special Report from the Filene Research Institute that showed Congress the importance of credit unions being open to small employer groups who need access to reasonably priced financial services.

Prior to joining Filene, Hoel was Professor of Business and Chair of the Marketing Department at Colorado State University. While at CSU he served as Board Chair of a local credit union.

Today, Hoel is a member of the National Examining Committee for the Certified Credit Union Executive program; the Capitalization Program Committee of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; and the Credit Policies Committee at Great Wisconsin Credit Union.

Individual Achievement: Harriet May

Harriet May portraitHarriet May, President and CEO of GECU of El Paso, Texas, will receive the Individual Achievement Award in recognition of her heartfelt commitment and proactive approach toward the American Dream of home ownership for residents of her border city.

May's grassroots efforts established the El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization in 2002. Her leadership led to GECU being selected as one of eight financial institutions chosen to pilot an affordable home loan program in 2004 that has resulted in $14 million in mortgages for qualified low-income residents.

May is recognized as a tireless crusader for financial education, housing counseling, affordable credit, and foreclosure prevention. She supports her staff as they strive for excellence and encouraged two to participate in the Filene Research Institute’s i3 program.

Throughout her 33 years at GECU, May has made a positive impact on the credit union movement locally, nationally, and internationally. She has volunteered her time to serve on the boards of Town North National Bank (owned solely by credit unions), the Credit Union National Association, the Filene Institute Research Council, and the World Council of Credit Unions.

Recently, May was appointed to the Thrift Institutions Advisory Council, which led to a meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss financial literacy issues.

Outstanding Organization: State Employees Credit Union Foundation

State Employees Credit Union Foundation logoState Employees Credit Union Foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina will receive the Outstanding Organization Award for quickly becoming one of the most successful private credit union foundations in America. This foundation is funded entirely by member contributions from the State Employees Credit Union.

During the SECU Foundation’s first three years, its work has already crossed over into diverse public sectors: education, energy, health care, housing, and human services. The positive impact has been felt throughout the entire state of North Carolina.

Among the SECU Foundation’s achievements:
  • An energy project in partnership with NC GreenPower will save an estimated $1 billion for SECU members and employees over the next four years, through the use of renewable resources to save energy and minimize waste.
  • A $2 million grant built a 40-bedroom hospitality house at the University of North Carolina, known as SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals.
  • Over $200,000 in grants and a 0% loan built Hertford Pointe, a housing project in rural North Carolina to help recruit and retain teachers by providing affordable and safe housing.
  • The “People Helping People” high school scholarship program provides a $10,000 four-year college scholarship to a graduating senior from each of the state’s 341 public schools as well as two charter high schools.
  • The Community College Scholarship program serves each of the state’s 58 community colleges, with 116 two-year scholarships valued up to $5,000 each.

Wegner Awards Dinner

2008 Wegner Awards logoThe 2008 Wegner Awards will be presented on a new night and at a new location. Plan now to attend the 20th Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner on Monday, March 3, 2008 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.

The dinner will still take place on the opening night of the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference.

Online registration for the dinner will be available by December 1 on this website.
More info on Wegner Awards and Dinner