Delegates from across New Hampshire gathered on Saturday, June 16 for the New Hampshire Credit Union League’s 58th Annual Business Meeting and heard reports from numerous League committees as well as League Chairman Michael L’Ecuyer and League President Daniel F. Egan, Jr. They also heard from special guest speakers including Bank Commissioner Ronald Wilbur; National Credit Union Administration Associate Regional Director of Programs Marcia Sarrazin; CUNA Mutual Group Sales Executive Geoff Martin; as well as America’s Credit Union Museum Executive Director Peggy Powell.
The attendees were moved by a special video presentation featuring the 1,000th Wish given by Make-A-Wish Foundation® of New Hampshire. The organization’s CEO Julie Baron followed by introducing Wish child David and his family. David’s mom Kristin shared the story of David’s wish with the attendees and then offered her heartfelt thanks to the credit unions for their generous support and for putting the glow back on David’s face.
During the meeting, the nominating committee announced the results of the election held for positions on the League’s Board of Directors. Maurice D. Simard, Jr., president/treasurer, Triangle Credit Union was re-elected to the board for three-year terms. Ronald H. Covey, Jr., president/CEO, St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union was elected to the board for a three-year term. Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, Chairman L’Ecuyer recognized Gordon Simmons who chose not to seek re-election and retired from the League Board of Directors. Gordon was presented with a special gift in honor of his many years of service to the New Hampshire Credit Union League.
Two credit unions celebrating anniversaries this year were recognized during the meeting with plaques: Holy Rosary Credit Union – 50 years and Service Credit Union – 55 years.
STUDENTS IN NH GRADUATE WITH HIGHEST DEBT IN U.S. – CREDIT UNIONS OFFERING SOLUTIONS
The good news is that America’s high school graduation rate has hit an all time high, according to findings of the U.S. Department of Education. The bad news: the nation’s higher education dropout rate has also hit an all time high, according to a recent study from The American Dream 2.0 coalition. More students pack their bags for home over financial/credit debt than academic performance. Those lucky enough to graduate are confronted with student loan debt, which averages $27,000.00, throughout the U.S. College students in New Hampshire owed the most, with average debt of $32,440.00. Many of these problems could have been alleviated with adequate financial literacy education prior to graduating from high school. The New Hampshire Credit Union League (NHCUL) in partnership with America’s Credit Union Museum (ACUM) has led the charge in educating New Hampshire school children on basic financial literacy through the CU 4 Reality™ Financial Education Program – in part with Financial Literacy Month events.
“What we know is that college students are ‘signing on the credit card and student loan dotted line,’ not realizing the full financial responsibility of these financial contracts,” according to Daniel F. Egan, Jr., president of the NHCUL. “Student debt in this nation is reaching an epic level of more than $1 trillion dollars - $1,000,000,000,000.00 - and the financial stress is taking a toll on students via an increase in dropout rates,” added Egan. Financially stressed students are six times more likely to drop out, which decreases their income earning potential, coupled with student loan obligations, which are unforgivable. According to a recent study by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) of high school students: “83% did not know the rates and 77% didn’t know the duration of their expected or existing college loans….the results suggest that some students could be challenged in managing basic expenses or using such payment tools as credit cards in a consistently responsible manner as they enter adulthood.”
“Credit is being extended to this segment at a younger and younger age. It is the goal of New Hampshire’s credit unions to educate school age residents of financial options and help them avoid certain financial pitfalls,” stated Egan. “Credit unions serve and advocate for their membership – these are member-owned businesses. For student loans, credit unions provide better interest terms, and student loan default rates for credit unions are 1.6% - well below the student federal loan default rate of more than 12%. April was Financial Literacy Month for credit unions, and New Hampshire’s credit unions are proud of the service and community outreach they provide 24/7/365,” concluded Egan.
On October 10, 2012, New Hampshire Governor John H. Lynch was joined by members of the New Hampshire Credit Union League (NHCUL), representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of New Hampshire credit union employees from throughout New Hampshire, and local guests, to launch the sales season of the Make-A-Wish® 2013 Calendar Raffle. The event to launch the 2013 Calendar Raffle, limited to 2,500 calendars, featured speeches from representatives of both the NHCUL, Make-A-Wish®, and Governor John. H. Lynch. Governor Lynch commended New Hampshire credit unions for their corporate social responsibility and for making a difference for non-profit organizations in New Hampshire – including Make-A-Wish®. In addition, Governor Lynch shared the podium with the five Wish Children in attendance, and asked each to share details on the Wishes they received.
Lynch commented, “I believe there is nothing nobler a person can do than to help others. The credit unions’ support of Make-A-Wish® and these remarkable young people is a fantastic example of that.” Governor Lynch then purchased the first 2013 calendar and Wish Children – David, Jessica, Corey, Stephanie, and Megan (Miss New Hampshire) – were on hand to autograph the Governor’s calendar. The group presented the Governor with a special photo memory book from the previous 3 calendar event kick-offs.
Gerald Dumoulin, NHCUL Board Chairman, informed guests of the significance of fundraising initiatives by New Hampshire’s credit unions, and praised Governor Lynch for his support of the Calendar Raffle. “Starting this month and throughout the year, the credit unions of the NHCUL are joining forces to raise funds for Make-A-Wish®. The Make-A-Wish® Calendar Raffle is in its fifth year and a total fundraising goal of $155,000 has been set to support Make-A-Wish®. To achieve this goal, New Hampshire credit unions participate in a variety of fundraising programs, which include: The Richard D. Mahoney Memorial Golf Tournament; candy bar sales; League Chapter and state convention auctions; and theme park ticket sales. The NHCUL is grateful for the support of the more than 500,000 New Hampshire residents who are credit union members, and for Governor Lynch, who has been a steadfast supporter of Make-A-Wish® and the fund raising efforts of New Hampshire credit unions,” added Dumoulin.
Julie P. Baron, CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of New Hampshire, praised the philanthropic spirit and philosophy of New Hampshire’s credit unions. “The Make-A-Wish® Foundation of New Hampshire is so appreciative of the amazing partnership we share with the NHCUL. New Hampshire credit unions “live” and exemplify their sense of corporate social responsibility -“people helping people” - throughout the year. Their impact has reached every corner of the state – and is key in assisting Make-A-Wish® grant beyond 1,000 wishes and celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2012,” said Baron.
At the 58th Annual Meeting and Convention of the New Hampshire Credit Union League (NHCUL), held at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort, June 15-17, 2012, Ronald H. Covey, Jr., was elected to the NHCUL’s Board of Directors. A financial services executive with more than three decades of experience, Covey will serve a three term on the seven-member NHCUL Board of Directors.
“It’s an honor to have been elected to the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Credit Union League and represent New Hampshire’s 21 consumer-owned credit unions and their 500,000 members. The NHCUL has had impressive industry growth figures. Just this past year, statewide membership in credit unions grew 5.09%, while assets in New Hampshire credit unions grew to $5.3 billion. I look forward to serving on the NHCUL Board of Directors,” said Covey. Covey also looks forward to supporting the myriad of philanthropic and NHCUL partnerships including: More Than Wheels; Make-A-Wish Foundation® of New Hampshire; Greenlight Initiative (energy efficiency loans); and CU4Reality™ Financial Education Program (financial literacy program).
Selected as the President and CEO of Manchester-based St. Mary’s Bank in 2008 – the nation’s first credit union – Covey is the 8th professional to serve in this role at St. Mary’s over the past 104 years. Covey has extensive experience managing commercial, consumer, mortgage lending; branches; commercial loan operations; collections; and special assets groups. Covey received a B.S degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University.
Within the Greater-Manchester community, Covey has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NH Institute of Art; the Board of Directors of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and America’s Credit Union Museum Foundation; the Executive Board of the Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Advisory Board/Trustee of the Manchester Regional Community Foundation; Trustee of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Manchester; Campaign Chairman of the Bishops Charitable Assistance Fund; as well as the Board of Leadership Greater Manchester. Covey resides with his wife and family in Hooksett.