The National Credit Union Foundation’s Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards is just around the corner, and at the Foundation we are gearing up for another unforgettable event.
This dinner is the primary fundraising event for the Foundation, and those who come and support our award winners also support the Foundation and our initiatives to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions.
Returning once again as our Premier Sponsor of the event is VISA. I had the opportunity to talk with Doug Leighton, Head of Community Accounts at VISA, about the Wegner Dinner and what their sponsorship of the event means to them and to the industry.
We are so honored and thankful to have Visa back as our Premier Sponsor of the Wegner Dinner. What made you come back again?
I have been coming to the CUNA GAC for four years now and with each year, I feel more and more a part of the credit union movement. Being surrounded by this group, you feel an undeniable sense of community and collaboration that is so unique and special to the credit union industry.
I remember my first experience at the Wegner Awards Dinner, sitting at a table with some of the Cooperative Trust’s “Crashers” and I felt their enthusiasm and excitement for the movement firsthand. Visa has gotten more engaged and involved in the credit movement in various ways over the past few years. We have a very close relationship with Filene, especially when it comes to the “Crashers”. Visa also supports Filene’s War for Talent Center of Excellence. The goal of this partnership is to fuel critical research surrounding the issue of attracting and retaining talent in the credit union industry. At last year’s Wegner Awards Dinner, when the Cooperative Trust was being honored with a Wegner Award, I knew that it was important for Visa to lend the company’s support not only for the Cooperative Trust and War for Talent, but for the important work that credit unions do to help people every day.
The Foundation’s Dinner presented an opportunity for Visa to showcase our commitment to credit unions and the belief we have in them to remain vital and competitive players in the market. Last year, we could feel the energy and passion in the room and were so inspired by the award winners and the incredible stories that they shared. We knew right away that we didn’t just want to come back, we needed to. It is important that Visa continues to play a role in this critical credit union event and the entirety of the credit union industry as we all work towards helping people to live better financial lives.
What do you think the Wegner Awards Dinner means to credit unions and the industry?
It seems to me that the Wegner Dinner is the “must-not-miss” event at GAC where credit union leaders get to take a moment to recognize and celebrate what has been achieved throughout the year in the industry. It also means a lot to have an organization like the Foundation spearheading this celebration, raising awareness for important topics of discussion in the industry such as financial literacy and financial health. The dinner presents an opportunity to celebrate all that is going well for credit unions, as well as an opportunity to advocate for the continual “pushing” of the envelope in these areas of focus in our industry.
Overall, it is a fantastic time for credit union professionals to thank each other for their great work, thank themselves, and look forward to the future of the movement.
What is VISA doing in the avenues of financial literacy and inclusion that would be of interest to credit unions?
Visa offers robust financial literacy and inclusion programs. In the area of financial literacy, we partner with organizations such as the NFL to create curriculum and events for local schools in collaboration with state governments and financial institutions. Together, we host a financial literacy event series for youth called Financial Football – a fun event to engage students mentally and physically. You can learn more about that here: http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football
We have also partnered with Marvel to publish comic books that bring financial education to life in a fun, visual way and help teach kids about making good financial decisions. Financial literacy is a core value of Visa, and we know that it is also at the core for credit unions. So our mission and purpose is directly tied to that of credit unions.
Financial inclusion is also an area of focus for us and for credit unions across the US and Canada. This is an area that credit unions have really stepped up to provide products and services that bring people into the financial community. We have been working closely with Filene on the Reaching Minority Households Incubator to test out various products such as micro-lending, payday loan alternatives, non-citizen accounts and more. While these products are still being tested, the Incubator will deliver key insights and learnings in order to roll out viable, commercially-relevant product to all credit unions so that they can provide access to affordable products and services to even more people in their communities. And bring in more members.
We have more information for you and your members to utilize on our Practical Money Skills site. This is Visa’s platform for consumers that houses tools and resources focusing on financial literacy and education. Click here to learn more.
Any last thoughts about credit unions, the movement, and the role that Visa plays?
Credit unions need reliable and trusted partners, particularly in payments as the space is rapidly evolving. Visa is a committed partner and supporter of the credit union movement and we are dedicated to ensuring that credit unions are not just staying up with evolution of payments, but ahead of the pace of change. Our commitment to the credit union movement is multifaceted through partnerships with organizations such as the Foundation, CUES and Filene – not only do we provide credit unions support for financial literacy and inclusion, but we also provide value to their everyday payment tools, which members are increasingly relying on. We are fully committed to the credit union movement and their “people helping people” philosophy that drives their mission.
Visa wants to make sure that even more people discover credit unions and build lasting careers in credit unions, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the movement. We are so excited for the opportunity to once again sponsor the Foundation’s Wegner Dinner, and we look forward to celebrating with everyone on February 26th!
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