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 ( 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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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 and click on the donation button at the bottom of our homepage. For more information, you can contact the First Financial Foundation at or send direct requests to PO Box 1172, Toms River, NJ 08754-1172.

First Financial Presents 2013 Annual Service Awards

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WALL, N.J. – First Financial Federal Credit Union ( recently held its annual meeting at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, NJ, where our Board of Directors Chairperson, Mary Tilton, was presented with a 30 year volunteer service award, and four employees were presented with 5 year service awards.

The 30 Year Volunteer Service Award was presented to Mary Tilton of Pt. Pleasant, NJ.


(Pictured left to right: Board Chair Mary Tilton and Issa Stephan, First Financial President & CEO.)

Mary has been a member of the credit union since 1966. She began her volunteer service with First Financial in 1983, where she served on the Supervisory Committee until 2007. She has served on First Financial’s Board of Directors since 2002 and is the current Board Chairperson.

Of her volunteer service award, Mary stated, “One of the best things that I ever did was to join the credit union, and one of the most rewarding was serving as a volunteer for a great organization. First Financial Federal Credit Union is dedicated to helping all of its members reach their financial goals.”

5 year Employee Service Awards were presented to the following employees:

Marketing Manager, Jessica Revoir of Tinton Falls, NJ.


Jessica is the Marketing Manager at the credit union’s corporate headquarters in Wall Township.  Of her service award, Jessica stated, “In my position I love that I am able to be creative every day, and more importantly educate the members of the credit union and our local community by communicating important financial literacy topics that are essential to all of us – such as budgeting, saving money, planning for retirement, staying out of debt, and the list goes on. You can never learn enough when it comes to your finances and planning for your future!”

E-Services Representative, Theresa Washington of Long Branch, NJ.


Senior Operations Specialist, Doreen Cutrona of Toms River, NJ.


Recovery Coordinator, Janice Anderson of Highlands, NJ.


Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

First Financial Presented with 2013 MODC Silver Gull Economic Development Award

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MODC - Silver Gull 2013

Pictured above: First Financial President/CEO Issa Stephan with the credit union’s 2013 Silver Gull Award.

First Financial Federal Credit Union was recently presented with an Economic Development Award at the 48th Annual Silver Gull Awards, by the Monmouth Ocean Development Council (MODC). The awards reception was held at Jumping Brook County Club in Neptune, NJ.

The award was issued by MODC, a networking and advocacy group dedicated to supporting the business environments of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey. These prestigious awards are given to individuals, corporations, companies, and organizations which contributed to enhancing the quality of life and the business environment in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

2013 Silver Gull Award

The Economic Development Silver Gull Award is granted to an individual, organization or corporate entity which has made an exceptional contribution to the business community’s growth and/or development in the bi-county area. The recipient portrays time and leadership which positively impacts the business climate of the bi-county area, as well as contributes to the growth of the business community, provides substantial area employment, and manages successful projects to enhance surroundings.

In support of economic development, First Financial provides business accounts, loans, investment options, and merchant services to over 150 Monmouth and Ocean County businesses. First Financial was also among more than 500 credit union advocates and small business owners from across the nation who participated in a grassroots push for Member Business Lending (MBL) reform at the end of 2012. First Financial’s Board of Directors and management believes that financial education is a foundational responsibility to the well-being of the community.  In addition to offering complimentary monthly business and consumer financial wellness seminars, the credit union creates educational blog posts on significant financial topics such as budgeting, credit management, debt reduction, identity theft, and social media for business. First Financial has partnered with Monmouth University to provide paid internships to college students, and the credit union also works closely with Wall High School’s Business and Finance Academy (WBFA) to provide annual internships to high school juniors within the program, as well as educate and guide the students in terms of financial literacy. The First Financial Foundation raises money annually to offer assistance and benefit the Monmouth and Ocean County community, and in 2012 the Foundation gave $750 college scholarships to six area students and four $500 classroom grants to local educators.

“Every member of the credit union is an owner,” explains Issa Stephan, President and CEO of First Financial Federal Credit Union. “Money doesn’t go to a few investors, or to rally the stock price. We put what we need in capital as required by the federal government. Everything else goes back to the members through lower rates on loans, higher savings interest, updated technologies and assisting members through hard times. A lot of people lost their jobs and went through difficult times recently, and we use our resources to help our members. It is our responsibility and honor to serve our members and potential members, with integrity and commitment to their long-term financial success. ”

For more information on the Economic Development Award and to see Issa’s acceptance speech, click here to view our video or click on the image below.

Issa Speech Image

About MODC:

The Monmouth-Ocean Development Council (MODC), established in 1965, is a networking and advocacy group dedicated to supporting the business environments of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. MODC’s membership includes hundreds of influential business, community and government leaders representing diverse groups throughout the bi-county region. Members participate on committees that take action on issues of interest by offering: luncheons, seminars, workshops, special events, forums for collaborating with Business, Community and Government leaders, and resolutions submitted to government officials regarding issues that affect the region. For more information, visit

First Financial Marketing Team Wins 2013 NAFCU Award

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Pictured above: First Financial’s E-Marketing Specialist Nicole Andretta (L) and Marketing Manager Jessica Revoir (R) with the credit union’s recent NAFCU Award.

First Financial ( was chosen by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) as the recipient of a 2013 Marketing Award for Best Member Newsletter.

“Our marketing team works diligently to promote our products and services with clarity and creativity,” said Issa Stephan, First Financial’s President and CEO. “This recognition speaks to the credit union’s commitment to excellence and outstanding member service.”

The Annual Awards Competition recognized eight successful promotions in three credit union asset-size categories. First Financial was a winner among credit unions between $150 to $750 million in assets.

First Financial was established in 1936 and serves anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in New Jersey’s Monmouth or Ocean Counties. First Financial Federal Credit Union is a member of NAFCU.

NAFCU is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on federal issues affecting credit unions, representing its members before the federal government and the public. For more information, visit

First Financial Marketing Team Wins 2013 CUNA Diamond Award

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

Wall, N.J. – First Financial Federal Credit Union ( was recently honored with an “Industry’s Best” Diamond Award for their Fall 2012 First Edition Newsletter Magazine.

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 33 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 the 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.”

To view a copy of First Financial’s winning newsletter magazine, click here.


About First Financial Federal Credit Union:

First Financial Federal Credit Union (formerly Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative whose goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability.  Our vision is to be a long-term financial partner with our Members. While First Financial has a highly trained, professional staff using the latest technology, we also pride ourselves on our personal touch. Unlike huge banking conglomerates, policy setting and overall strategic direction of First Financial are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of credit union members. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. For more information on First Financial, visit

The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council is a member-led organization comprised of more than 1,100 credit union professionals from across the United States. The Council strives to provide superior educational and networking opportunities to help its members be recognized in the credit union industry as the premier experts in credit union marketing, business development, and related disciplines.  The Marketing & Business Development Council is one of the six organizations that make up the CUNA Councils, a network of more than 5,500 credit union professionals. For more information, visit or