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Southwest 66 FCU Recognized as Community CU of the Year
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 7:00 AM

Southwest 66 Federal Credit Union in Odessa, Texas, has been recognized by Credit Union National Association as a 2014 Community Credit Union of the Year for its exemplary principles and service.

Southwest 66 FCU, with $85 million in assets, will receive the award of Honorary Mention at a special luncheon at this year's CUNA Community Credit Union and Growth Conference, Nov. 3-6 in Las Vegas, where they will join three other credit union honorees from around the country.

The Community Credit Union award honors credit unions that consistently excel in the advancement of credit union ideals, are proactive in their communities, and meet the needs of their own diverse member bases. The yearly judging process considers three aspects of each credit union applicant: member impact, community impact, and financial impact.

This year's awards will be presented to credit unions in two asset categories:  less than $250 million in assets and more than $250 million in assets, with only a first place and honorable mention winner in each category.

Southwest 66 FCU President and CEO Sean Cahill said, "We are humbled to be recognized with this award from CUNA. Every day, our board and staff set out to serve our members and the community in the most impactful way that we possibly can. Our board is passionate about service, and I believe that is the key to our success. Our staff executes at a level I have not seen in my career before, and truly cares about every member interaction. Their spirit of volunteerism and helping the community really stands out."

Cahill says it's the partnerships that helped Southwest 66 FCU be recognized for the Community Credit Union award: its members, its associations, and its affiliation with the League. This past year, the credit union received the Juntos Avanazamos, or Together We Advance, designation from Cornerstone.

"Those three words have really resonated with us in all that we do," Cahill says. "We partner with our community in many different ways, as all credit unions do. And we partner with other credit unions, too. For example, building a CUSO with two of the largest credit unions in our chapter, Complex Community FCU and Southwest Heritage CU. Jason Berridge and Ronny Haynes are two amazing CEOs who deeply care about our community and are willing to pool resources with us to serve them." 

"Our partnership with Cornerstone is one of the keys to our success, as well," Cahill reports. "Dick Ensweiler, Bob Gallman, Gretchen Zeigler; I could go on and on. It is these folks who care about our success, our members, and our community, and are willing to put every ounce of their energy into ensuring it. We could not have done it without them."

Cornerstone CEO Dick Ensweiler was delighted to hear that Southwest 66 FCU was being recognized as a top community credit union. "I congratulate Southwest 66 FCU for their achievement. With a dynamic individual like Sean Cahill at the helm, and with his very capable and supportive board and staff, Southwest 66 FCU's members and the community have greatly benefited. It's great to see this up-and-coming credit union be rewarded in the national spotlight for all their hard work."

Cahill thanks his board and his staff for their incredible passion and dedication to their members and community. "This award is recognition of all their hard work and efforts," Cahill said. "We would also like to thank the SCMS team in Janine McBee and Johnny Vardallas. Their world class leadership of the school sets it apart from any in the country. Our entire management team is either in, or will be attending the school over the next three years to continue to develop our skills and talents."

Finally, Cahill thanks FiServ for their partnership. "They are a leader in innovation and stayed with us constantly from a strategic positon, coming on-site many, many times to ensure we had what we needed to deliver on our promise to our members."

Southwest 66 FCU joins three other Community Credit Unions of the Year that are being honored in Las Vegas in November, where select members of Cahill's staff will attend the ceremony. The three credit union are: AmeriCU CU, Rome, N.Y, with $1.2 billion in assets, first place, more than $250 million in assets; Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier, Vt., with $630 million in assets, honorable mention, more than $250 million in assets; and Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, N.Y., with $87 million in assets, first place, less than $250 million in assets.