For immediate release: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Baton Rouge, LA — As the first credit union nationwide to certify its entire staff as Community Development Certified Financial Counselors, Pelican State Credit Union ($200 million; 33,530 members; Baton Rogue, LA) recently garnered some well-deserved attention from the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA). NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Michael Beall honored Pelican State’s CEO Jeff Conrad for this proactive certification effort to help improve the credit union members’ financial lives. The reception took place February 26 at NCBA CLUSA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., during the credit union movement’s largest conference, the 2013 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.
Watch a video from the NCBA CLUSA reception.
Grant writing and consulting firm CU Strategic Planning, created the online CDCFC training program, which is certified by NCBA CLUSA. The CDCFC program is quickly becoming an essential tool for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and credit unions serving moderate- and low-income populations. Already, 11 award-winning, CDFI-designated credit unions are currently using the program. It is also an effective means for mainstream credit unions to better serve their members when they face financial adversity.
NCBA CLUSA’s Beall presented Conrad with a plaque commemorating Pelican State spearheading its community development efforts as the first credit union nationwide to have its entire staff become certified through the CDCFC training program. Conrad embarked on this program because over the last five years the credit scores of Pelican State’s members had dropped – leaving many ineligible for loans for which they formerly qualified. Conrad subsequently signed up for the CDCFC training program to certify his entire staff, empowering them to help members improve their finances and build wealth.
“Credit unions need the tools to help them provide a hand up – not a hand out – for their members,” Beall said. “We want to make sure individuals have a fair opportunity today to help their families. Looking at Pelican State’s recent accomplishments with its certification training through the leadership of Jeff Conrad, we believe they are a perfect example of how credit unions can help support their members financially, which ultimately will build wealth in their communities for better lives overall.”
“Touching peoples lives is what it’s all about and helping people is what we do,” Conrad said. “There are so many people in the state of Louisiana who need to get their lives back on track. There are a number of individuals throughout our state who have needs that can be met by credit unions and cooperatives. And when they come to your credit union, your entire staff can be prepared to identify their needs and help them with the tools that are provided through this training and certification.”
“This recognition for Pelican State from NCBA CLUSA is truly wonderful and very well deserved,” CU Strategic Planning’s Jamie Chase said. “Jeffrey Conrad’s vision to certify the credit union’s entire staff sets the bar for other credit unions to follow, allowing members to receive assistance during every interaction with their credit union that will ultimately lead consumers out of predatory debt and build wealth in their respective communities. Jeff Conrad is breaking new ground for credit unions and CDFIs with his visionary approach to community development and member service. We look forward to seeing his staff make tremendous financial changes in their members’ lives.”
About NCBA CLUSA (ncbaclusa.coop)
The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, technical assistance, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 100 countries in the areas of food security, agricultural development, strengthening of communities and farmer organizations, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women, and youth. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
For more than 56 years, Pelican State Credit Union has been providing financial services to individuals and their families throughout the state of Louisiana. Since opening its doors in 1956, the credit union seeks to embody its mission statement each and every day, providing innovative products and services, with a continued, dedicated focus on member loyalty. Pelican State Credit Union was originally chartered as the Department of Hospitals Credit Union, located in downtown Baton Rouge. Its main membership served Louisiana Charity Hospitals, Mental Health Centers, and State Office Personnel. Pelican State has since grown into one of the largest state chartered credit unions in Louisiana now serving over 33,500 members nationwide.