Excellence in Marketing & Business Development Award

Entry Materials Deadline:  February 5, 2021
Entry deadline will be strictly followed – no entries will be accepted after the February 5, 2021 deadline date so please don’t wait until the last minute – applications take time to fill out and complete. Thank you!

As credit union marketing and business development professionals, we are frequently asked to develop innovative solutions to a variety of business problems. The purpose of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council’s Excellence Award is to spotlight these new approaches and their application to credit unions nationwide.

Here are some testimonials from the 2020 winners:

“It was an incredible honor to receive national recognition for our Community Outreach efforts. Credit Unions around the country are doing so many amazing things for their communities; truly embracing the people helping people philosophy day in and day out. Our Community Outreach project highlighted in this year’s Excellence Award was an incredible journey for our entire team at Community Credit Union as well as our community partners throughout Androscoggin County, Maine. The innovative products and service offerings that resulted from the outreach will assist many unbanked and underserved community members for years to come. We are proud to be working to find financial solutions for our members and communities we serve! I would encourage other Credit Unions doing compelling outreach and/or political advocacy to submit for an Excellence Award. Showcasing and highlighting these Credit Union accomplishments only further supports the credit union movement in our country! The projects recognized in the Excellence Awards could lead to a connection, idea and collaboration with other Credit Unions to make greater impact in their community in the true spirit of financial cooperatives." 
—  Community Credit Union, Lewiston, ME

“Winning an Excellence Award helped to solidify the success of our program. We knew we had done something special, CUNA helped us appreciate it. It’s special. It meant a lot to our team, to our Cross-Servicing Coach and to our front light staff. Everyone knew they contributed. Apply for the Excellence Award – celebrate your hard work and your internal accomplishments – you deserve it."
— First Heritage Federal Credit Union, Painted Post, NY

“Besides the prestige of being recognized by the industry’s leading trade association and peers, it was confirmation that our organization is producing high-quality strategies in our cohesive ecosystem. Our approach to strategic planning and marketing’s driving of that conversation is model for our industry. The Excellence Award affirms we’re moving in the right direction with our approach to strategic planning. Being recognized is humbling. Carve out the time to submit a meaningful entry. Don’t be shy about showcasing your work and credibility."
—  Louisiana Federal Credit Union, LaPlace, LA

“The primary benefit SAFE Credit Union received from participating in the Excellence Awards was the chance to share our campaign and the story behind it to our fellow credit unions. All of us are dedicated to the credit union mission of people helping people, and that also encompasses credit union marketers helping other credit union marketers. Now, more than ever, credit unions are coming to the assistance of their members and communities with services to help them during these uncertain times. It’s so important that we share our messages of hope, support, and respect to our members and their friends and neighbors to separate our not-for-profit business model from those of the profit-hungry big banks. The SAFE CreditYOUnion campaign encapsulates that caring spirit that drives credit unions to do what’s right for our members. We’re truly humbled that CUNA has showcased in such a dynamic way our campaign that celebrates diversity and acknowledges that individual connection credit unions are all about. Receiving the accolades of our credit union peers proves that our campaign effectively hits the mark. SAFE Credit Union knew as soon as it hit our service area in the Greater Sacramento area that we had launched a unique campaign that touched those who saw the outdoor ads, connected with us on social media, and got teary-eyed when they watched the commercial. That was truly rewarding. But knowing that our fellow credit union marketers who live and breathe credit union messaging every day also recognized the power of this campaign is a rewarding achievement. The application process is quite involved, but that intense level of detail also gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the impact of your campaigns. We knew we were hitting our KPIs with the SAFE Credit YOUnion campaign, but putting that into a narrative and sharing the details provided greater insight into the campaign’s success. And who doesn’t like having their hard work recognized? Winning an Excellence Award is a great achievement made more meaningful because it comes from our peers." 
— SSAFE Credit Union, Folsom, CA

“This experience has given us a real sense of pride to show the hard work we have been putting in to give back to our community, and not only to be recognized for it here locally, but also nationally by CUNA and our peers. Again, this award is a reaffirmation that the work we have put in locally is truly special to rise to the honor of being awarded with an Excellence Award. Apply! Push yourself and your credit union to be great because the competition is fierce but so worth it!"
— Strata Credit Union, Bakersfield, CA

Entry Criteria


  • There is no entry fee.
  • Up to eight awards will be presented in the following two asset groups and four categories:

    Asset Groups:

  1. Assets under $500M
  2. Assets $500M or greater


  1. Business Development
  2. Community Outreach and/or Political Advocacy
  3. Excellence for Strategic Planning
  4. Multifaceted
  • Entrants must be a current member of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council.
  • The practice must have been initiated in 2020.
  • Entries must be received by February 5, 2021.
  • The award winner or a representative must be in attendance at the conference to accept the award.
  • If applicable, the entrant may submit a similar entry to both the Excellence and Diamond Awards programs. However, the entrant must complete the appropriate entry forms for each respective program separately.


Up to eight awards will be presented to credit unions achieving marketing and business development excellence in the following two asset groups and four categories:

Asset Groups:

  1. Assets under $500M
  2. Assets $500M or greater


  1. Business Development: Beyond normal activities, what has your credit union done to further develop the relationship between credit union and sponsor company(s), their employees, or the community(s) you serve?
  2. Community Outreach and/or Political Advocacy: Has your credit union developed a successful community relations program? Perhaps a politically-themed event or program that advocates a political candidate or the credit union movement? Maybe an event and/or program that combines both? What was your strategy? And most importantly, what were the results?
  3. Excellence for Strategic Planning: This category highlights the work of the strategic marketer or business development professional. Planning is the core of all business. To outperform the competition requires solid marketing knowledge and precision in decision making. Your credit union’s positioning and the positioning of its products, services and/or marketing/business development programs depend on the formation and implementation of intelligent and well thought-out strategic plans. Share your plan in this Excellence category and demonstrate your role in creating your credit union’s competitive advantage.
  4. Multifaceted: Open to any event, program, or initiative you feel is deserving! Did you undertake a name change or rebranding? Did your department drive the successful implementation of a sales culture? Through planning and preparation, did your credit union successfully navigate a natural disaster? Have you utilized your MCIF to leverage marketing results? Whatever your practice may be, this is your chance to tell your peers.

Winner Recognition

Excellence Award winners will be announced at the 28th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference, March 21-24, 2021 in Los Angeles. Winners are required to attend the conference to accept the award. Each winning credit union will receive one complimentary conference registration. Winning entries will be featured in a press release and in CUNA News Now in addition to being showcased on the CUNA Marketing & Business Development website.

How to Enter

Start by reviewing the details and entry process.

The entry form and worksheet pertaining to your category must be completed and submitted online. The steps below outline exactly how to enter.

  1. Register an Account
  2. Create Your Entry
  3. Upload Digital Files
  4. Submit Entry

LOGIN – to begin entry process

If you have questions about the entry process, please contact CUNA Councils at 800-356-9655, ext. 4018 or awards@cuna.coop.

If you have questions about the Excellence Award categories, please contact Lynn Heider, Recognition Committee Chair and VP Public Relations, Northwest Credit Union Association at 503-350-2225 or lheider@nwcua.org; Jason Lindstrom, Recognition Committee Vice Chair and President/CEO, Evergreen Credit Union at 207-221-5000, ext. 350 or jlindstrom@egcu.org.