Awards to be Presented at 37th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved
(May 11, 2011- New York, NY) The Federation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” Award, the highest honor given out by the Federation to community development credit union (CDCU) staff and volunteers. This year’s recipients of the “Helping Hands” Awards are Mignhon Tourné, President & CEO of ASI Federal Credit Union (Harahan, LA) and Kim Vermander, Senior Vice President of Communicating Arts Credit Union (Detroit, MI).
Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal commented on this year’s winners. “On behalf of the Federation and our Board of Directors, we congratulate Mignhon and Kim, as well as their respective CDCUs, on this award.”
“While presented to individual CDCU heroes,” Rosenthal elaborated, “the Annie Vamper ‘Helping Hands’ awards not only recognize each recipient’s selfless work to promote the credit union ideal of ‘people helping people’, but they also honor the credit unions that have enabled these individuals to shine,” he said. “Through the individual efforts of our honorees, and the collective efforts of their credit unions, thousands of low- and moderate-income residents of New Orleans and Detroit, have access to affordable and responsible financial services, and it is our honor and our privilege to recognize them at our upcoming conference in Hollywood.”
Tourné and Vermander will receive their awards at a special ceremony on Friday, June 17, during the Federation’s 37th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved in Hollywood, CA.
For more information about that event and to submit a congratulatory advertisement in the Federation’s conference program book, click here.
About Mignhon Tourné
Mignhon Tourné served on ASI FCU’s board of directors for over twenty years, spending ten years as President of the Board of Directors. While serving on ASI FCU’s Board of Directors, she was a fierce champion of diversity, encouraging the credit union to extend inclusive banking services to those segments of the population left behind by traditional financial institutions. Under her leadership as President of the Board of Directors, ASI FCU grew from $10 million-in-assets to more than $250 million.
In 2006, Tourné relinquished her position as chairperson of the board to accept the role of CEO during a time when the credit union was still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina: displaced employees and members, utterly destroyed branches, and major financial losses. However, ASI FCU was determined to help its members in any way possible during this challenging time, as it had done so many times before that devastating event.
In 2009, ASI FCU opened the doors of A Shared Initiative, Inc. (ASII), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that acts as the community development arm of ASI FCU. Through its financial education programs, ranging from credit improvement, debt management, budgeting and savings, prospective homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, and more, ASII helps residents regain control of their financial lives and livelihoods to ensure long term financial security.
During her tenure as CEO, Tourné has been instrumental in the creation and development of many innovative programs, products, and services to benefit the credit union’s membership, including spearheading the creation two new bilingual branches, offering a welcoming multi-cultural environment and greater access of the credit union’s services by the Vietnamese-American community and the Spanish-speaking community, groups whose numbers have grown significantly in the greater New Orleans area post-Hurricane Katrina.
Tourné is a highly visible figure representing ASI FCU in the community and she possesses a dynamic enthusiasm that encourages volunteerism in ASI FCU’s employees and board members. According to Sarah Taylor, ASI FCU Senior Vice President, “Mignhon is a fierce champion of diversity; she is a supreme challenger of the status quo; and she is an unyielding advocate of the underserved. Her efforts have taken ASI [FCU] to new heights, both as a CDCU and as a CDFI, and her legacy at the credit union will be one of service, innovation and lasting impact.”
About Kim Vermander
Kim Vermander has been involved in the credit union movement for over thirty years. While her early days in the movement were with a “mainstream” credit union, Vermander always believed in a credit union’s responsibility to give back and help those that need it most. It is this belief which set the tone for her work at Communicating Arts Credit Union (CACU), where she serves as Senior Vice President.
In 2010 Communicating Arts received the Credit Union Times’ 2010 Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Service to the Underserved, and according to CACU CEO, Hank Hubbard, the award was largely based on Vermander’s leadership in opening a new branch in Highland Park, one of the lowest-income, most underserved communities in all of Detroit.
“Kim was responsible for literally everything,” explained Hubbard, “From supervising the pouring of the cement floor to the selecting the shape of the counter, and from getting our name out in local churches, to becoming Treasurer of the Highland Park Business Association. The Highland Park branch has been overwhelming successful and now serves about 2,500 members, accounts for nearly $2 million in savings and $3 million in loans. And all of this was accomplished through word of mouth based on our service to the community. We have not done any traditional marketing, and Kim is a big reason for this success,” he added.
The experience in Highland Park provided the credit union’s Board of Directors with the courage to do it again, and CACU opened a second new branch in an equally devastated area in East Detroit in January 2011, attracting more than 50 members in the first month alone. Successfully branching into neighborhoods forsaken by other institutions has become one of Vermander’s specialties, and it is a skill that the credit union is putting to use as it refocuses its efforts to become Detroit’s premier community development credit union.
When told Vermander would receive a Vamper Award, Hubbard praised her selection, “Kim is our go-to person at the credit union. She has been responsible for driving nearly all of the changes we have gone through since becoming a CDCU,” he said. “Whether it has required adjusting guidelines and policies to lend to higher-risk members, creating new savings or loan products designed specifically for the underbanked, or opening branches in urban areas that most other institutions have abandoned, Kim can do it all – she is our superhero!”
About Annie Vamper
Born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1933, Annie Wilma Vamper started her credit union career with the College City Elks Lodge FCU in 1958. By 1962, she was working with the M.C.E. FCU, where she served as manager until 1966. During the War on Poverty, Vamper helped organize, charter, and train the staff of twelve credit unions across the South. In the 1970s she worked with the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions as a Limited-Income Credit Union Specialist for the Southeast Region, and later, as second in command of NCUA’s CDCU division. By 1982 however, NCUA’s CDCU office was dissolved and Vamper became a field examiner for NCUA.
In 1983, Vamper came to the Federation, joining its only remaining staff member, Cliff Rosenthal, in rebuilding the organization. Upon joining the Federation Vamper became Associate Director -- and Chief Financial Officer, Capitalization Program staff, regulatory analyst, and “godmother” to half a dozen new CDCUs formed during the 1980s. Until her death in 1990, Annie Vamper gave every ounce of her strength, her commitment, and her love to the CDCU movement. In 1993, the “Helping Hands” Award was created to honor her memory, along with the dedication of the Federation’s training center at its New York City headquarters.
The “Helping Hands” Award celebrates those individuals whose unselfish work for the CDCU movement carry-on Annie’s legacy. Since 1993 the Federation has honored 45 credit union staff and volunteers with the award.
For more information about Annie Vamper, and a complete list of past Vamper Award recipients, click here.
© 2011 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.