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

Press Release

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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

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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.

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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.

First Financial Marketing Team Wins 2013 NAFCU Award

Press Release

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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 (http://www.firstffcu.com/) 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 http://www.nafcu.org/.

First Financial Marketing Team Wins 2013 CUNA Diamond Award

Press Release

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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 (http://www.firstffcu.com/) 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.

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“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.

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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 http://www.firstffcu.com/.

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 http://www.cunacouncils.org/ or http://www.cunamarketingcouncil.org/.

Wall High School’s 2012 Financial Reality Fair Video

As many of you know, we sponsored our first ever financial Reality Fair in December 2012 at Wall High School, and it was a tremendous success. There were about 150 students who participated in the financial Reality Fair, many of who were a part of the school’s Business and Finance Academy. The program was aimed at increasing their financial literacy and teaching them the value of a dollar.

Students were assigned their careers of choice, mock salaries, credit scores and $20,000 in college debt. Then they were off to buy and rent what they thought they’d need — food, shelter, cars and more — at various stations around the school’s media center, manned by credit union employees and volunteers.

“Fun, maybe. But it’s an important financial lesson for parents and educators to teach at this age and even younger,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of what was experienced at the Reality Fair!

Thank you to all our staff and volunteers who help made this day successful, we couldn’t have done it without you! To read more about Wall High School’s Reality Fair, click here.

First Financial Approves Student Loan for Determined Student

Press Release

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Pictured above: Matthew Durst, Rutgers University Student

The staff at First Financial Federal Credit Union had their heartstrings tugged when student Matthew Durst, a current member, shared his story about his determination to receive a student loan to attend Rutgers University this fall. Although Durst received multiple student loan application denials from various financial institutions, he was not about to give up. The First Financial Loan Department suggested to Durst that although his application was initially not approved, that he should send an email on his behalf to have his application re-evaluated. With his continued effort and exceedingly positive financial relationship with First Financial, his application was re-evaluated and approved with the help of First Financial’s President and CEO, Issa Stephan, and Chief Operating Officer, Alice Stevens.

“I knew three years ago it was time for me to establish my own independence with regard to building a credit history of my own. When it came time for me to transfer from the community college and go to Rutgers University, I wanted to be able to apply (on my own) for a student loan to offset the remaining costs of attendance – minus the minimal financial aid that had been awarded to me,” explained Durst.

Durst obtains “light credit” due to his age and student status, which is typically not enough to apply for a student loan independently.  Due to the struggling economy, the past five years have been hard for Durst and his family, as his mother was laid off from three jobs in two years. At the time of the loan application – she was employed, but had taken a substantial pay cut, which left her unable to co-sign any of her son’s student loan applications.

Yet, Durst was not about to give up on obtaining a student loan for himself – and after he was initially declined by First Financial, he decided to send the Loan Department an email (as suggested), which explained why he was deserving of a student loan and about his family’s financial situation.  Durst’s email reached the desk of Alice Stevens, First Financial’s Chief Operating Officer.

“We know that times are tough financially for many people out there, and that it can be a great challenge financing a college education.  Initially, when we reviewed Matthew’s student loan application, his light credit wasn’t enough for us to be able to fund his entire college education – even though we wanted to be able to assist,” said Stevens.  “After we received Matthew’s email, we decided to invite Matthew and his mother to our office to hear their story in person and see how we could help this family – after all, isn’t that what the credit union movement is all about?”

Durst and his mother came to First Financial’s Corporate Headquarters in Wall Township in August, and met with both Issa Stephan and Alice Stevens.  Durst explained both in his initial email and in person, “I am in my fifth season of working for a catering company where I handle parties and weddings.  This entails working 12-plus hour shifts, and in between I work at an Italian family restaurant delivering food, pizza, and servicing customers. I am a dedicated, hardworking person who will continue to work while enrolled full-time in school.”

Taking his email, application, and the face-to-face meeting into careful consideration, First Financial decided to approve Durst for a student loan – even if it meant they had to bend the rules a little. “Matthew’s maturity and commitment to his future were very impressive – and that couldn’t be overlooked,” said Stevens.

“Everyone deserves a second chance and sometimes that second chance can change an individual’s life,” said Issa Stephan, President and CEO.  “First Financial stands by our promise to be a long-time financial partner with our members, make a difference in our members’ lives, and put member needs first to provide a trustworthy and value added solution, and we felt we needed to do the same for Matthew to help him achieve his important goal of receiving a college education.”

If you have any questions regarding a loan product, an account, or would like to talk to a representative about the important financial decisions in your life – give us a call at 866.750.0100, live chat at firstffcu.com, comment below, or stop by and see us!

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