CoVantage Credit Union receives honor for unique business philosophy

By Patrick Lynn

CoVantage Credit Union has been honored with two awards recognizing its dedication to financial literacy and member service.

According to a news release from the company, CoVantage earned a first-place Louise Herring Award Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award in recognition for the creation of a unique loan program specifically designed to provide relief and reassurance to members through the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s Summer Bucks Loan program, which was made available in August 2020, allowed members to obtain a loan with no minimum credit score or loan amount with a simple digital application that was processed within 24 hours. The program allowed members to borrow at significantly lower-than-average interest rates, helping members-owners avoid a financial emergency and prevent snowballing debt from predatory lending.

CoVantage helped over 1,000 members with the Summer Bucks Program.

The company also won a second-place Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award for its efforts in promoting financial literacy. CoVantage converted their in-person financial literacy curriculum into digital modules that were easily shared online to continue serving members with tools to help them succeed financially during the pandemic, the news release said.

Daily financial literacy lessons were also released onto digital platforms to help parents and teachers supplement home learning. The lessons covered a variety of topics ranging from budgeting to taxes to predatory lending.

The awards are sponsored by the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association. Both recognize credit unions that demonstrate the internal application of the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” through special programs.

Howard Heinrich, vice president of consumer lending at CoVantage, said 2020 was a “challenging and uncertain time” for many of the members.

“CoVantage has a long history of assisting member-owners in times of need, and we are devoted to helping those who support their credit union,” Heinrich said. “We are proud that we made special efforts to support individuals and families impacted by the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.”

First-place award winners of the Louise Herring and Desjardins Awards advanced to national-level judging among credit unions over $1 billion in assets.

CoVantage Credit Union calls itself a “purpose-driven organization,” one with a mission to “welcome all regardless of wealth, providing outstanding value and exceptional service, work with members experiencing financial challenge, and remaining financially strong.”

The company is based in Antigo but has locations in 30 counties across Wisconsin, including Portage Co.