October 17, 2019 by Leslie Hulick
Every year since 1948 credit union members worldwide have recognized the third Thursday of October as a day to celebrate the credit union difference. With more than 89,000 credit unions operating in 117 countries worldwide and 128 headquartered in Wisconsin alone with more than 600 branches, International Credit Union (ICU) Day hosted by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is a day for 200+ million members internationally and 3.31 million members in Wisconsin to celebrate.
This year, Blackhawk Community Credit Union (BHCCU) goes beyond festivities with complimentary treats and banners lining the walls of its 12 branches and honoring its 60,000 members. It recognizes community impact through financial wellness starting with youth education in its student teller, internship and youth apprenticeship programs.
Growing up in Milton and now a branch manager in Janesville, Mackenzie Schultz credits her fulfilling career to a BHCCU internship in 2015. “My time as an intern provided me an opportunity to learn and grow as a young professional and to develop a passion for financial wellness. In the four years since I accepted a full-time position with Blackhawk, I have had the opportunity to work on meaningful projects, including creating a small-dollar loan product as an alternative to predatory payday loans that can be difficult to payoff. Providing sound financial tools to my community is one reason I launched my career at Blackhawk and the reason I choose to stay,” said Schultz.
Blackhawk’s credit union difference starts by investing in its communities to enhance the skills of its youth. “At Blackhawk, we look at our students as future leaders. By teaching them financial wellness skills, including smart money management and soft skills to excel in the workplace, we develop a generation of sound professionals who will reinvest and give back to our communities as adults,” said BHCCU’s financial literacy coordinator, Teresa Riesterer.
Sherri Stumpf, BHCCU’s CEO, believes Blackhawk, like most credit unions, creates opportunities to make a strong impact on the communities they serve. “Today we celebrate being a credit union and the many credit unions worldwide working to benefit their members. With a community-first mentality and a focus on education, credit unions have the power to help transform individuals into financially-sound leaders.”