DENVER–The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presented its annual credit union industry awards at the 10th Annual Star Gala at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House here. Proceeds from the event support the charitable work of the Foundation.
Each year, the Star Gala is held to honor outstanding credit unions and credit union professionals dedicated to the credit union movement and making a difference in their communities. This year, awards were presented to:
* Pima Federal Credit Union (Arizona) - Community Impact Award, winner
* Reliant Federal Credit Union (Wyoming) - Community Impact Award, runner-up
* Vantage West (Arizona) - Credit Union Of the Year ($500M and over Asset Category)
* Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union (Wyoming) - Emerging Leader Award
* Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union - Distinguished Leader Award
"These award winners truly embody the credit union philosophy," said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. "Credit unions exist to enhance the lives of their members. The individuals and credit unions receiving these awards truly make a difference in their communities, and in the lives of their members. It's why we do what we do."
Money raised from the event goes to fund Foundation programs that provide scholarships for numerous leadership, professional development and academic opportunities; financial services, development and public financial education grants; and other programs supporting credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, the states served by the Mountain West Credit Union Association.
Specifically, the MWCUA said the winners were honored for these reasons:
- Vantage West Credit Union - Credit Union of the Year Award (Over $500 million Assets). This award recognizes a credit union for innovation and outstanding achievements in the various areas of day-to-day operations, financial prowess, and member service. Vantage West Credit Union has been serving the community for over 70 years. They have an expansive Hispanic initiative which gained the Juntos Avanzamos designation, and has become a leader in serving this market. Vantage West Credit Union joined with local law enforcement to fight skimming at gas pumps. Through their efforts, more than 80 skimming devices were removed with fraud claims declining from 54 a month to 3, preventing over half a million dollars in claims.
- Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union, Emerging Leader Award. The emerging leader award is presented to a credit union employee who demonstrates outstanding contributions to the credit union movement, community service and leadership qualities. Phillips has been a part of the movement for nearly a decade and is a graduate of the Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute, a Credit Union Development Educator, and a scholar of the Foundation's Executive Leadership Program. She has established a financial literacy program for their credit union and local school district. Additionally, she created a service-oriented mentoring program for credit union staff and recently took on a new role as Manager of Member Service.
- Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union - Distinguished Leader Award. Williams has been dedicated to the credit union movement for 30 years. He is a credit union activist, spending more than 15 years attending the Government Affairs Conference and Hike the Hill initiatives while working to build relationships with state elected officials and communicating credit union issues. Williams has served by providing leadership on numerous Association, CUNA, and CUSO boards. This included being a part of the team that merged the Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming leagues into the Mountain West Credit Union Association.