WASHINGTON-The National Cooperative Business Association is launching a national "Honor a HERO" contest in which credit unions and co-ops can share stories (in 200 words or less) about how a member of their staff has been a hero. The contest is being co-sponsored by CU Strategic Planning, Tacoma, Wash. Credit Union Journal is participating as media sponsor.

According to the NCBA, the goal is to create a public venue for the sharing of a "compelling story about helping members/consumers in financial distress and, in turn, helping them to help themselves." Nominees can be recognized for being a hero to an individual, a cause in their area or their entire community.

The campaign stems from the new HERO Counseling service, a Community Development Certified Financial Counseling (CDCFC) course certified by the NCBA. "HERO Counseling will help credit unions provide better financial guidance to their low-income communities-becoming HEROES to their members, board, and bottom line, according to the NCBA," the organization said.

The winning credit union receives HERO Counseling staff training, certification and software-from CU Strategic Planning and the NCBA for the entire credit union staff. Second and third runners-up receive HERO Counseling training for their department or branch of choice.


A 'Fantastic Campaign'

"This is a fantastic campaign that we are proud to launch to inspire cooperatives to act boldly and to empower consumers across our country," says NCBA President and CEO Mike Beall. "As the largest group of cooperatives, credit unions have an opportunity to inspire great change in their member's lives. Co-ops and their employees do amazing work each and every day. This is a chance for these stories to be shared, for these heroes to receive recognition and to revitalize our communities. We want to highlight their stories."

"Over the years I've heard many stories about credit union employees and cooperatives that are heroes," says CU Strategic Planning founder Jamie Chase, whose company is donating the HERO software prize valued up to $500,000. "All they have to do is share their story now. They deserved to be recognized and honored. Our company is excited to donate a very valuable prize so that their whole cooperative benefits from their heroism."

Stories will be shared at: https://www.facebook.com/HeroCounseling.

Deadline for entries is August 24. Written entries can be sent to: http://herocounseling.org/contest/. Winners will be announced in early September.

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