CU*Answers presented the 10th annual “Spirit of CU*Answers” award on July 1, 2020, as part of a special video presentation of the CUSO’s annual Leadership Conference event for CUSO clients and stakeholders. In announcing the award, CU*Answers CEO Randy Karnes said, “Credit unions who see the COVID-19 event as a business resumption exercise that will add a long-term, valuable asset to their organization for years to come, these organizations are what the Spirit of CU*Answers is all about. So this year’s award goes out to all of the credit unions who volunteered their leaders to continue to drive CUSOs and our community.”

Credit union CEOs own and drive all of the partner organizations under the umbrella, which includes not only CU*Answers in Grand Rapids, Michigan; but also CU*NorthWest in Spokane, Washington; CU*South in Mobile, Alabama; Site-4 in Yankton, South Dakota; and Xtend in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Karnes added, “These organizations all have boards, they all have leaders that were volunteered by their credit union. Even in the worst of times, all the way through COVID-19, they stayed in there, they did their board meetings and strategic planning events, and they drove us to think bigger, saying ‘hey, this is just a blip.’ I appreciate those boards of directors; I appreciate the credit unions that volunteered their hard work to us.”

The Spirit of CU*Answers award, established in 2011, recognizes a client credit union for excellence in a variety of areas. Karnes explained that this year’s award had two focuses: credit unions that exhibited strong execution and performance, especially in the face of adversity, as well as credit unions that started initiatives that really demonstrate the credit union spirit, moving the industry in a positive direction and serving as an inspiration to other credit unions. In the past the award has also allowed the CUSO to recognize credit unions who have strong volunteer programs, who’ve demonstrated a high level of adoption of CU*Answers tools, who show innovative examples of collaboration and cooperation, who have found new ways to demonstrate commitment to the 7 Cooperative Principles, or who’ve started new businesses in the network.