First Financial Honored with CUNA Diamond Award and SIAA Awards for Outstanding Marketing Achievements

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Use this photo - CUNA and SIAA 2014

Pictured above: First Financial’s Marketing Director Jessica Revoir (L) and E-Marketing Specialist Nicole Andretta (R) with the credit union’s recent CUNA Diamond Award and SIAA Awards.

First Financial Federal Credit Union was recently honored with an “Industry’s Best” Diamond Award in electronic marketing for their new member onboarding PURL (personalized URL) campaign called Welcome2First.

The award was administered by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council, a national network comprised of over 1,100 credit union marketing and business development professionals.  Awards are given in each of 29 categories ranging from advertising to community events and beyond.

“The Diamond Award competition is the most prestigious competition for excellence in marketing and business development in the credit union industry,” said Michelle Hunter, Chair of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, and SVP of Marketing & Development at Credit Union of Southern California. “Credit unions that receive these awards should be extremely proud of their accomplishments and know that their work represents the very best examples of creativity, innovation, relevance, and execution. The Diamond Awards are not easily earned and the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council is proud to honor those who are deserving of this recognition.”

In addition, First Financial was also awarded with two Silver Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) – for their First Scoop blog and new identity theft protection products, as well as a Bronze Award for their new employee onboarding video.

Founded in 2003, SIAA is the only advertising awards program to specifically recognize the achievements of the service industry. Many other advertising awards feature consumer goods, packaged goods and other tangible products. The SIAA specifically recognizes the creativity and communication accomplishments of the service industry.

Nearly 2,000 entries were received in this year’s SIAA competition. A national panel of judges reviewed each entry for execution, creativity, quality, consumer appeal and overall breakthrough content.

First Financial also worked with Source4 business and marketing solutions in Parsippany, NJ; Grey Sky Films in Rockaway, NJ; and M2 The Agency in The Woodlands, TX on the above award-winning marketing projects.

First Financial Foundation Receives 2013 Social Responsibility Award for Classroom Grants

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Pictured above from First Financial Federal Credit Union’s Foundation Committee – L to R: Megan Shull (Business Development Officer), Issa Stephan (President/CEO), Greg Michlig (NJ Credit Union League President/CEO), Jessica Revoir (Marketing Manager), Helga Britton (VP of Human Resources), Angel Capalbo (Quality Assurance Specialist), and Graham Stevens (Dealer Relationship Director).

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation was selected by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) through the New Jersey Credit Union League’s 2013 award program (NJCUL) as the recipient of the 2013 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Awareness Award.

The credit union’s Foundation was awarded for its classroom grants for local educators. In the fall of 2012, the First Financial Foundation asked Monmouth and Ocean County educators to apply for the classroom grants to use at their schools. The First Financial Foundation awarded four (4) $500 classroom grants during the 2012-2013 school year. These grants were implemented to help the children of the credit union’s surrounding communities. With several school budget cuts in the area, many school districts could not afford the additional tools that were needed to help aid in their students’ success, and that is where the First Financial Foundation felt they needed to provide assistance.

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots. “Education remains a guiding principal for our organization, and we were delighted to help our local educators enhance their classroom experience,” noted First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

The annual NJCUL award competition is separated in two different categories, state league awards and national CUNA awards.  The Dora Maxwell Award is a CUNA award, and is judged by CUNA and is based on credit unions and their philosophy of “people helping people.”

To learn more about the First Financial Foundation’s classroom grants and see the four recipients, visit First Financial’s blog at Http://blog.firstffcu.com .

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About the First Financial Foundation:

Since 1994, First Financial has supported the Monmouth & Ocean communities with the Erma Dorrer Scholarship Program. Today, that program has been extended into the First Financial Foundation to assist charitable organizations of the Monmouth & Ocean County Communities.  The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation is a non-profit working to support a variety of community programs and organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We direct 100% of your contributions to programs because all administrative expenses are paid for by First Financial Federal Credit Union.  To learn more, visit www.firstfinancialfoundation.org .

First Financial Foundation Names Amanda Sayko of Howell Winner of 2013 Scholarship

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Amanda SaykoPictured Above: Amanda Sayko of Howell

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstfinancialfoundation.org) recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Amanda Sayko of Howell, who recently began her freshman year at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College – majoring in science. Sayko graduated from Howell High School in June 2013, with an impressive 4.4 GPA.

Three winners were chosen overall for the First Financial Foundation’s 2013 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship.

This year’s scholarship topic was:

Due to heavy competition in New Jersey with banks and financial institutions on every corner, how can First Financial bring in new credit union members? How can we differentiate ourselves and successfully carry out a membership drive within the community to recruit new members? Please answer the question as if you were a First Financial executive – what would you do to educate the local community about the benefits of a credit union membership?

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/12 and about to attend for fall 2013 – or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

Sayko submitted an essay explaining why reaching out to the public would help First Financial bring in new members, and in her essay she stated, “People need to feel a connection with the everyday people they trust their money with. They need to ask questions and talk to their bankers face to face.  That is one of the things I like about First Financial. When I go in to deposit my paycheck I talk to the same people every time. They are friendly and personable employees who actually know who I am.  You don’t get that feeling at a larger financial institution.” Later she added, “To me, personal relationships are the key factor when it comes to trusting people with your money.  For the current generations, large banks have lost the trust of the general public, and First Financial should emphasize how credit unions are trustworthy and a not for profit entity; separating it from its competitors.”

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright young students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 77 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

First Financial Foundation Names Kevin Rogers of Ocean Township Winner of 2013 Scholarship

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Kevin Rogers

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstfinancialfoundation.org) recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Kevin Rogers of Ocean Township, who is currently attending the School of Criminal Justice and Public Administration at Kean University in Union, NJ.

Three winners were chosen overall for the First Financial Foundation’s 2013 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship.

This year’s scholarship topic was:

Due to heavy competition in New Jersey with banks and financial institutions on every corner, how can First Financial bring in new credit union members? How can we differentiate ourselves and successfully carry out a membership drive within the community to recruit new members? Please answer the question as if you were a First Financial executive – what would you do to educate the local community about the benefits of a credit union membership?

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/12 and about to attend for fall 2013 – or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

Rogers submitted an essay explaining why First Financial should focus new membership on high school and college students. In his essay he stated, “Although most students generally have not yet achieved the type of financial stability it takes to be able to make large deposits, the contributions that they can make should be of particular interest to a credit union. The reason is that many high school students are interested in having part-time jobs during the school year as well as in the summer, and the schools are already educating them on how to effectively handle their own finances. Financial literacy studies are required for graduation in most high schools and for college students who are pursuing disciplines involving business administration with concentrations in finance and/or economics. In addition, bringing students into the credit union will introduce them to all First Financial has to offer – while financially educating and setting them up with various financial products for every stage of their future.”

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright young students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 77 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

First Financial Foundation Names Christen Corrado of Freehold Winner of 2013 Scholarship

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L to R: First Financial President/CEO, Issa Stephan with 2013 scholarship winner, Christen Corrado

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstfinancialfoundation.org) recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Christen Corrado of Freehold, who is currently attending Rowan University’s School of Engineering, studying electrical and computer engineering.

Three winners were chosen overall for the First Financial Foundation’s 2013 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship.

This year’s scholarship topic was:

Due to heavy competition in New Jersey with banks and financial institutions on every corner, how can First Financial bring in new credit union members? How can we differentiate ourselves and successfully carry out a membership drive within the community to recruit new members? Please answer the question as if you were a First Financial executive – what would you do to educate the local community about the benefits of a credit union membership?

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/12 and about to attend for fall 2013 – or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

Corrado submitted a very creative, professional essay, featuring her own headshot explaining three different ways First Financial could bring in new members – and how new members could benefit from credit union membership at First Financial in the same way she had growing up. In her essay she stated, “First Financial can bring in new credit union members and educate the local community by advertising to emerging high school graduates and their parents, offering rewards and discounts to new and existing members, and sponsoring local events.”

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright young students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 77 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

First Financial Foundation Awards Superstorm Sandy Donations to Manahawkin Family

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JonesFamily

Clarence and Judith Jones of Manahawkin receive a check from First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan at the credit union’s Toms River branch.

Toms River, NJ – Clarence and Judith Jones of Manahawkin were delighted when they received a phone call from First Financial, letting them know they were the recipients of the First Financial Foundation’s Superstorm Sandy member donation drive.  The Jones’ met First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who presented them with a $330 check – most of which was collected from cash/change donation boxes that were placed in the credit union’s five branch locations in early 2013.

The First Financial Foundation was made aware that several of the credit union’s families were greatly affected by Superstorm Sandy, and wanted to contribute to the cause by helping the membership.  In early 2013, donation boxes for cash/change deposits were placed in all five of First Financial’s branch locations – as well as a link was placed on First Financial’s website for those who wanted to make an online contribution.  In addition, the Foundation contacted the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and had food collection bins placed in each of their five branch locations.  First Financial members, employees, and business account members contributed what they were able to the cause.

The First Financial Foundation received written assistance requests from 11 member families who were significantly impacted by the storm, and in April 2013 drew one of the 11 families at random to provide the amount collected from the donations.  The family drawn was that of Clarence and Judith Jones. The Jones’ home in Manahawkin, NJ was completely devastated from the storm. While their home is currently in the process of being rebuilt, the couple has been traveling back and forth between babysitting for grandchildren on Long Island and when in New Jersey, temporarily living in a camper belonging to their son, John Paul Jones, next to where their home used to be.

On receiving the donations from the First Financial Foundation – the Jones’ said, “We were managing just fine – patiently waiting as our home was being rebuilt, and residing in our camper when we were in New Jersey. Unfortunately, our camper’s water pump recently stopped functioning properly – and this generous donation will go toward its repair. We are very grateful to the First Financial Foundation and the First Financial members and employees who made contributions!”

“The main goals of the First Financial Foundation are to assist the local Monmouth and Ocean County community by providing college scholarships to area students, classroom grants to our schools, and contributing to other important causes which impact our community members in any way we can,” stated First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that while the Foundation wanted to be able to contribute more and give something to all of the affected member families, it wasn’t possible at this time due to the annual college scholarships that will be given out this summer and classroom grants later this fall. “Throughout the year the Foundation holds various fundraisers such as car washes, bake sales, craft fairs, and raffles in order to raise money for our annual donation campaigns. Superstorm Sandy wasn’t something anyone could’ve planned for – or known that it would affect the Jersey Shore area as much as it had. However, with our members needing help, we wanted to contribute as much as we could to those in need.  We hope our upcoming fundraising campaigns that will take place throughout the rest of this year will allow us to supply additional funds to the other ten member families who wrote to us,” said Stephan.

If you would like to donate to the First Financial Foundation, stop into any one of our branches or visit our website at www.firstffcu.com and click on the donation button at the bottom of our homepage. For more information, you can contact the First Financial Foundation at foundation@firstffcu.com or send direct requests to PO Box 1172, Toms River, NJ 08754-1172.