First Financial Holds 2014 Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Freehold/Howell Service Center

Press Release

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Pictured above, left photo: The First Financial Board of Directors and staff prepare to cut the ribbon to commence the groundbreaking of the credit union’s newest branch alongside Gordon Holder (Board Chair, center) and Issa Stephan (President/CEO, far right).

Pictured above, right photo: Howell Township officials attend the ceremony. From left to right: Paul Schneider (Howell Planning Board), Issa Stephan, Jeffrey Filiatreault (Township Manager), Town Councilman Robert Walsh, and Gordon Holder.

First Financial Federal Credit Union (http://www.firstffcu.com/) held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 24, 2014 at the site of the credit union’s soon to be newest branch at 389 Route 9 North (next to the Howell Park & Ride) in Freehold, NJ 07728.

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Pictured above: Some First Financial Corporate Office staff with Issa Stephan and Gordon Holder.

In attendance were several Howell Township officials including Township Manager Jeffrey Filiatreault, Councilman Robert Walsh, Paul Schneider of the Howell Planning Board, along with Howell Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Dominguez, the First Financial Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee, President/CEO Issa Stephan, realtor Marshall Kern, builder Mitch St. Lawrence, and members of the First Financial Corporate Office staff.

The ceremony kicked off the construction of the credit union’s newest branch, which will be a primary banking location for approximately a quarter of the credit union’s 20,000 members. First Financial’s newest branch will feature many important banking conveniences such as a drive thru, drive up and walk up ATMs, and more.

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Pictured above: Issa Stephan and Gordon Holder showcase the First Financial Member Experience.

Brief remarks were made by Issa Stephan and Gordon Holder at the ceremony. In regard to the building and future opening of the credit union’s latest branch location, Mr. Stephan stated, “We look forward to bringing the Howell and Freehold community a high-tech banking facility featuring modern convenience. Member experience is extremely important to us, and our first priority is achieving our members’ financial dreams by defining their financial goals and lifestyle, empowering them with financial education, helping them to plan their retirement, and more – and our newest branch will be a key vehicle in helping us to fulfill this promise with our membership.”

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Pictured above: Some of the First FInancial Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee from left to right – David Graf, Laurita Carr, Issa Stephan, Gordon Holder, Elizabeth White, Karen Fiore, and Catherine McLaughlin.

More photos from the ceremony are available by following First Financial on Facebook at www.facebook.com/firstfinancialnj.

First Financial Honored with 2014 CUNA Diamond Award and SIAA Awards for Outstanding Marketing Achievements

Press Release

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 Presented with 2013 MODC Silver Gull Economic Development Award

Press Release

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 presented with an Economic Development Award at the 48th Annual Silver Gull Awards, by the Monmouth Ocean Development Council (MODC).

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. 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 provides college scholarships to area students and  classroom grants to local educators.

“Every member of the credit union is an owner,” explained 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. ”

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 http://www.modc.com/index.html.