National Credit Union Foundation Presents 4 Wegner Awards for 2009

Only Third Time in 21 Years

Click for interesting features on each award winner!For only the third time in 21 years, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) presented four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards at its annual dinner in 2009.

“This year’s winners join an elite group of 44 individuals and 20 organizations whose extraordinary efforts over the past 21 years have earned the credit union movement’s highest national honors,” said emcee Bob Schumacher, CEO of MountainCrest Credit Union in Arlington, Washington.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Pat Brownell Sterner shares memories of Bill.Bill Sterner
Late President/CEO
Elevations Credit Union
Boulder, Colorado


Decades before most credit unions learned to “serve the underserved,” Sterner was teaching this concept around the world.

Pat Brownell Sterner accepted the award in honor of Bill. In her acceptance speech, she shared fond memories and laughs with nearly 1,100 dinner guests.

Individual Achievement Award

Rita Haynes gets a laugh during her acceptance speech.Rita Haynes
Treasurer, Manager & CEO
Faith Community United Credit Union
Cleveland, Ohio


Haynes created unique programs that reflect the credit union’s religious roots:

"Grace Loans" answered members' prayers after most banks moved out of inner-city Cleveland and high-cost payday loan stores moved in. After one year of positive experience with the Grace Loan, members are eligible for the "Amazing Grace Line of Credit."

Amazingly, 75% of borrowers had previously filed for bankruptcy. Yet delinquency rates are less than 0.1%.

Haynes added a “Greater Grace Program” to consolidate members' debts from multiple payday lenders. Haynes personally sets their interest rates.

Members who need to refinance predatory mortgages find salvation in the “Mercy Mortgage,” saving an average of $200 per month.

Individual Achievement Award

Tom Sargent thanks NCUF during his acceptance speech.Tom Sargent
President/CEO
First Tech Credit Union
Beaverton, Oregon


Sargent’s leadership on the Credit Unions for Kids campaign has helped credit unions gain visibility worth hundreds of millions of dollars in paid advertising.


Schumacher, who also chairs NCUF’s Awards and Recognition Committee, explained why NCUF chose to present two Individual Achievement Awards this year:

“Rita and Tom’s achievements are both extraordinary and unique. Rita’s achievements in payday loan alternatives, second chance auto loans, and foreclosure preventions are shining examples of how credit unions can change lives in low-income communities. Tom has achieved what only the most effective national credit union leaders have done throughout our history: uniting credit unions across the country around a single cause.”

Outstanding Organization Award

Montana Credit Unions for Community Development
Montana Credit Union Network President Tracie Kanyon thanks MCUCD staff.Billings, Montana

This organization is only five years old, but already it has helped over 50,000 people avoid predatory loans, keep more of their earned income, and open their first savings accounts.

Second-Largest Event Ever!

Wegner Awards Dinner guests enjoy an evening to remember.Nearly 1,100 credit union leaders and supporters attended NCUF’s 21st annual Wegner Awards Dinner. Despite the economic recession, support for the event was the second-largest ever.

“We truly appreciate the enthusiasm from credit union supporters who understand how important it is—even in the worst economic times—to share and celebrate the best practices and the best people that credit unions have to offer,” concluded NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin.
Click here for interesting features on each award winner!