Sky FCU was recently honored with the 2013 Philosophy in Action Award from Montana Credit Unions for Community Development.
Karen Smith, executive director of MCUCD, said the award was established to acknowledge and recognize credit unions that participate in programs and promote the philosophy of improving our communities.
Sky was one of the first credit unions to participate in matched savings account programs that help members save for a home. Since then, the credit union has participated in every program through MCUCD they could, Smith said.
“They are awesome and work so well with participants -- always going above and beyond,” Smith said.
It’s a great cooperative partnership.
Debra Kelly, Sky compliance manager in Livingston, said MCUCD is a wonderful organization because the MCUCD team has “a genuine desire to reach out and help – in so many areas – with their member credit unions and the communities and members that the credit unions serve. “
Jeannita Bjorndal works at the credit union’s branch in Belgrade and said the matched-savings programs help members improve their situations by helping them save and build credit.
“I love it,” she said. “I’m excited to see participants’ confidence grow and they start to believe they can do it.”
Charlene Rodriguez is Sky’s financial services representative in Bozeman. She finds it fulfilling to offer these programs because they improve members’ lives.
“Credit unions were established at first for small employee groups to really and truly help the member, not just get them on the books,” Rodriguez explained.
Helping is still the mission today, she added.
Before joining the Sky team five years ago, Rodriguez worked for Russell Country Federal Credit Union in Great Falls for 20 years and has been a credit union member herself for most of her adult life.
“There has never been a time that my credit union hasn’t helped me financially,” she said.
Sky FCU is always eager to help their community and over the years helps more and more individuals. In 2006 they started by assisting three families purchase their first home. Since that time, they have participated in five additional match savings programs helping nearly 40 individuals save and earn match for an asset--mostly education.
Rodriguez said it makes her feel so good to pass that on every day at work.