By Patrick Lynn
CoVantage Credit Union received two awards recognizing its dedication to financial literacy and member service.
According to a company press release, CoVantage got the top spot Louise Herring Award Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award in recognition of the creation of a unique loan program specifically designed to provide relief and reassurance to members during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s Summer Bucks Loan program, which was made available in August 2020, allowed members to get a loan with no minimum credit score or loan amount with a simple digital application processed within 24 hours. The program allowed members to borrow at significantly lower than average interest rates, helping member-owners avoid a financial emergency and prevent the snowball effect of predatory lending.
CoVantage has helped over 1,000 members with the Summer Bucks program.
The company also won a second place Desjardins Youth Financial Education Prize for its efforts to promote financial literacy. CoVantage converted its in-person financial literacy program into digital modules that were easily shared online to continue to serve members with tools to help them succeed financially during the pandemic, the press release said.
Daily financial literacy lessons were also broadcast on digital platforms to help parents and teachers supplement learning from home. The lessons covered a variety of topics from budgeting to taxes to predatory lending.
The awards are sponsored by the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association. Both recognize credit unions that demonstrate the internal application of the credit union philosophy of “people helping others” through special programs.
Howard Heinrich, vice president of consumer lending at CoVantage, said 2020 was a “difficult and uncertain time” for many members.
“CoVantage has a long history of assisting member-owners in times of need, and we are committed to helping those who support their credit union,” Heinrich said. “We are proud to have made special efforts to support individuals and families affected by the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
The first-place winners of the Louise Herring and Desjardins Awards qualified to judge nationally among credit unions with over $1 billion in assets.
CoVantage Credit Union defines itself as a “purpose-driven organization”, with a mission “to welcome all, regardless of wealth, to provide exceptional value and exceptional service, to work with members facing financial difficulties and stay financially strong.”
The company is based in Antigo but has locations in 30 Wisconsin counties, including Portage Co.