In recognition of her leadership and tireless commitment to the credit union philosophy, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is pleased to announce Sarah Canepa Bang, President, CO-OP Shared Branching – FSCC, LLC and Chief Strategy Officer, CO-OP Shared Branching, as the winner of the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement.
This will be one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington on February 24, 2014, which is Monday night of the Credit Union National Association’s 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference. Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the NCUF website (ncuf.coop).
“One word to describe Sarah is ‘dynamo,’” said John Gregoire, Chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and President of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis. “Sarah is one of the most impressive, assertive, outgoing personalities in the entire credit union movement. Her energy knows no bounds, helping her become a major contributor to the success of the Credit Unions for Kids program and building shared branching in to a powerhouse delivery system.”
Sustained Commitment to the Credit Union System
Canepa Bang started her career at the Credit Union National Association in 1983 in the trade association's newly developed Internet office. During the mid-eighties, she served as Education Director at the then Oregon Credit Union League and moved to the Massachusetts Credit Union League in the late eighties as Vice President of Human Resources. She returned to the Oregon Credit Union League as Executive Vice President in 1990 and launched a number of high visibility programs. During her tenure at the Oregon Credit Union League, she was also Chief Operating Officer of CU Access, an ATM and shared branching network which the league ran, and Automated Item Management, the Northwest's largest and most successful check processing operation.
In 1995, Canepa Bang established a two-year associate degree program in credit union management through Mt. Hood Community College. She recognized that credit unions were a promising place to build careers and found a way to meet the educational needs of credit union employees. She also initiated Loans Today, one of the first 24/7 lending call centers in the nation created to enhance a credit union's ability to process member loan requests via telephone.
“Sarah’s career is indicative of not only her commitment to the credit union philosophy but also her willingness to utilize her business acumen to promote the best interests of credit unions, said Dan Egan, President/CEO of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island.
Shared Branching Advocate & Leader
“Sarah has been the credit union system's most ardent ambassador for shared branching, as well as its staunchest task master,” said Diana Dykstra, President/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
Canepa Bang was named Chief Executive Officer of FSCC in 1999. During her tenure she made the fledgling organization one of the most successful credit union CUSOs in the nation and in the history of the credit union system. Under Canepa Bang’s leadership, FSCC more than quadrupled in the number of credit unions, branches, and states involved in shared branching resulting in thousands of financial access points for members. Today, shared branching is available in all 50 states, 2 US territories, and 3 foreign countries.
FSCC was the first network to pioneer the outlet concept in shared branching. Through Canepa Bang’s tenure, they expanded the technology to include full-service kiosks, mobile banking, call centers, disaster recovery, and remote deposit capture. In 2007, FSCC hit another milestone and implemented shared branching services on over 2,200 Vcom® kiosks inside select 7-Eleven stores. In January 2012, she collaboratively worked with CO-OP Financial Services to unite the two shared branch networks in the credit union industry into “one” national network via a merger of the two organizations.
“Sarah is a visionary leader who is fearless in her pursuit of service and ‘access anywhere’ for credit union members,” said Patricia E. Smith, President/CEO of Unitus Community Credit Union.
Canepa Bang is a longtime supporter of the Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids) program and was one of the key founders of the program while at the Oregon Credit Union League. Since the start of the program in 1986, it has raised over $13 million dollars in the Northwest market. She also played an instrumental part in getting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to pick up the CU4Kids program and help it become a national program in 1997. In 2006, she was named to the board of the Credit Union Miracle Day Foundation and was also appointed to the Credit Unions for Kids National Advisory Board for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. She continues to co-host the CU4K wine auction fund raiser Oregon/Washington.
“In her more than 25 years of commitment to hospitalized children, Sarah has always put the kids first, truly embodying the credit union spirit and philosophy of ‘people helping people,’” said John Lauck, President/CEO of Children’s Miracle Network.
Commitment for Credit Unions Globally
Canepa Bang extends her commitment for credit unions to the global movement through her involvement with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and DCUC (Defense Credit Union Council). For example, she has twice traveled with WOCCU to China, as well as many other countries, and has hosted Chinese delegations interested in technology's role in helping grow China's mammoth cooperative movement. Sarah's role was to describe U.S shared branching. In less than one year, shared branching became part of the Chinese cooperative landscape. In 2011, WOCCU named Sarah one of their top seven people who are making a difference in supporting WOCCU.
“Her international involvement may be unsurpassed in the credit union arena,” said Troy Stang, President/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “Whether it is working with the World Council in China and Scotland or her work in advancing shared branching in Puerto Rico, Sarah has answered the call. These are just a few examples of her many contributions in advancing the credit union philosophy through action around the world.”
Foundation Leader & Director
Canepa Bang is also a firm believer in the mission of state credit union foundations. In 1987, she was responsible for the formation of the Oregon Credit Union League Educational Foundation whose purpose was to provide scholarships to credit union volunteers and employees. Since 1999, Canepa Bang has served on the Board of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation supporting financial education efforts of credit unions in California and Nevada. She is also a director of the Applied Research Institute helping to fund practical research projects for credit unions.
“Sarah is a person who for decades has exemplified the credit union concept, ‘By working together we can do so much more than we might by acting alone,’” said Roger Michaelis, President/CEO of iQ Credit Union.
About the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards:
The awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, whose tireless dedication, innovative ideas and deeds truly revolutionized the ways that credit unions serve their communities. The awards that bear Wegner’s name recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership. View past award recipients here.
About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement's primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker, working to help consumers achieve financial freedom through credit unions. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes.
NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group. All NCUF donors provide support that empowers NCUF and state credit union foundations to make financial freedom achievable through credit unions.
The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.