Edward Filene Credit Union Awards for Excellence - LEADERSHIP - Criteria

Credit union leaders are grown, learning their craft and growing through this process and stretching their abilities by actively serving others. They are not necessarily delivered by the democratic process or by being appointed to a paid position.  Previous winners in the following "Leadership" categories have demonstrated their dedication, drive, initiative and natural leadership qualities, performing well beyond their line of duty. 

As a result of interest shown by international colleagues, the ICULD&E Foundation's Trustees are delighted to announce nominations for categories 1, 2 and 3, (i.e. "Benefactor to a Credit Union", "Credit Union Leader" and "Young Leader") can be accepted from the rest of the credit union world and indicated (*International)

Click on these headings to see the criteria and suggestions for evidence for each Award category:

1. "Benefactor to a Credit Union"  
2. "Credit Union Leader - President/Board Chair/CEO etc)"  
3. "Young Leader (aged 17-35)
4. "Back Office Staff Member
5. "Front Office - Customer Services Officer

1. Excellence shown in performance by a long term benefactor to a credit union, and/or founding member acting as a volunteer or donor to it, without seeking personal acknowledgement or gain. (*International)
For example and this is not an exclusive list ....

  • How has the Benefactor or Founding Member served the credit union?  Roles performed, tasks undertaken?
  • ​What have they contributed to the credit union? Time and effort, material contribution?
  • What lasting effect have they had on the credit union? Inspiring others to do the same, legacy left?
  • ​Are they still engaged with the credit union actively? If so, in what roles and/or activities?

2. Excellence shown in performance by a credit union leader (President/Board Chairperson/Chief Executive Officer/General Manager or equivalent, paid or unpaid) over a sustained period of time (*International)
It's a very common misconception the essentials that have to be in place to ensure the success of a credit union are only tangible and financial.  They are not!  As many credit unions with these in plenty flounder and fail.  The most essential factor to achieve success is that person, who by their presence sense of vision and actions is a natural leader, regardless of their elected rank or appointed position; so the qualities the Judging Panel are looking for would include ....

  • As a lay leader or professional manager, what is the progressive track record of that person within the credit union?
  • What has been achieved of an exemplary nature within the remit?
  • What tasks have they performed on a voluntary basis, in addition to their designated ones?
  • What evidence is there of them creating a versatile workforce and succession planning?
  • How have they enhanced the external reputation of the credit union?
  • How have they led those answerable to him/her and inspired others to do more by their personal conduct?  Leadership from the front!
  • What contribution have they made to growing the credit union business?

3. Excellence shown in performance by a Young Leader, in either a paid or unpaid position, aged 17 to 35 years as at 30/06/2020 (*International)

It can be seen throughout the credit union movement everywhere that generally there's no structure or deliberate programme in place for encouraging the education, career development and earning prospects of those engaged in the management of the credit union and young owner-members with lay leadership potential and aspirations.  Any credit union anywhere that doesn't encourage these processes runs the risk of attrophying at best or demise at worst.  This Award is to encourage credit unions to adopt the "people progression" process.  Let the Judges know for instance ....

  • What skills have been mastered by the Young Leader?
  • How have they been been applied in the credit union itself?
  • What positions do they hold within the credit union?  Details of career progression
  • Have these skills been applied in the community served by the credit union?
  • Have they inspired others within their age bracket to follow them into a career in credit unions?

4. Excellence shown in performance by a "Back Office" Staff Member of the year
This type of person, oftern unheralded, plays a crucial role in the success of any credit union and should be recognised for carrying out one or more of a variety of vital functions within a credit union, i.e. all types of technical support, accounting and management, loan underwriting, delinquency pursuit, compliance, risk management, Health & Safety, human resources, education and training, etc.   The Judging Panel will need to know, for example ...

  • What are their key roles?
  • Do they have the flexibility to change their role instantly when called upon to do so?
  • Can they multitask - go the extra mile - if called upon to do so?
  • Have they progressed up the management hierarchy of the credit union?
  • What special skills/features/benefits do they bring to their tasks, bringing value to the entire credit union operation?
  • Do they transmit their skills and knowledge to other members of staff?

5. Excellence shown in performance by a "Front Office" Customer Service Officer/Teller of the year 
To the vast majority of credit union owner-members and potential ones, this person is the total presence of the credit union in their lives and so is the most crucial role in every credit union.  A key credit union difference is that of dealing with people directly, rather than processing them like peas - this is a major advantage over most other financial "firms" and should be exploited by us!  Again, some suggestions (but not an exhaustive list) to include in your submission ....

  • Do they speak clearly?
  • Do they have a pleasant manner at all times?
  • Are they knowledgeable about all the products and services provided by the credit union and can introduce them to owner-members?
  • Do they go the extra mile to service the needs of owner-members in need of additional or special assistance?
  • Do they log and process all incoming enquiries as potential selling opportunities, particularly from new potential owner-members?
  • How do they respond to incoming enquiries from external bodies, e.g. the Regulators, the media?

​All credit unions will be “mystery shopped” by the Awards Office and, based upon the manner in which the call is serviced, a shortlist will be drawn up and invitations sent to credit unions whose Customer Service Officer/Teller passed muster!  However, any credit union who wishes to nominate a Customer Service Officer/Teller is welcome to do so


The following Award is open only to selected entrants, the winning of this does not count towards the Supreme Award

 “Edward Filene Credit Union Award for Performance Excellence by the winner of a category making a film about their entry and Credit Union

This Award will be open to credit unions winning one or more categories, at which point (in utmost confidence) they will be requested to make this film which should cover specifically the activities described in their winning entries.

Invitations go out to make this film only after the Judging Panel has made their decisions.  The film editor, who compiles these films into an edited loop, acts as the Judge for this Award.   No prior notice is given of success in this Award category. 

Good luck with your entries!   Here's a link to the Entry Form  Any questions - don't hesitate to contact the Awards Office - see the "Helpline" including the 10 Top Tips to write a winning entry, FAQS and the judging process