First Choice moving forward

CREDIT UNION AWARD — Table of Hope of Weirton received the Community Spirit Award during Tuesday’s annual meeting of First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union. The nonprofit organization supports the community with free meals open to the public three days a week. On hand for the presentation of a plaque and a cash award of $2,500 were, from left, Edward L. Kennedy; Kenneth W. Truax; Robert G. Mrvos; Mandy Merico, Table of Hope coordinator; Scott E. Winwood; and John R. Thayer. -- Contributed

WEIRTON — First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union continued to make significant progress in 2018, despite strong competition and a tepid economy, officials said during Tuesday’s annual meeting.

The credit union has moved forward because of the performance of a dedicated employee team and the support and loyalty of its 38,000 members, officials added.

“Our employee team worked diligently to maintain a safe, sound and secure financial institution for its members,” said Scott E. Winwood, chairman.

Achievements noted by Winwood for 2018 include:

• Earning another superior rating.

• Growing assets to a record $448 million.

• Increasing loans to an all-time high of $142 million.

• Expanding deposits to a record $383 million.

• Preserving a strong capital position.

“Our credit union’s capital strength, asset quality and management ability help maintain our enviable position as one of the very elite among America’s 5,500 credit unions,” Winwood explained.

“These impressive achievements reflect the commitment to success of the officials, management and staff of First Choice America. Our employee team is professional and highly skilled, dedicated to excellence in serving you and very proud of the significant strides made during the past year,” he stated.

Winwood added First Choice has eight offices across the region and offers state-of-the art technology to assist members 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Technology is one of the important factors to success in today’s financial world. Looking ahead, we intend to maximize our investments in technology to better serve our members and strengthen our position in a very competitive marketplace. While keeping pace with the latest technology, we continue to offer members better rates on loans and deposits, more personalized service and, importantly, fewer fees than other financial institutions. We are proud to say that no new fees were enacted during the past year,” Winwood said.

The longtime chair said all of the credit union’s offerings provide a meaningful financial advantage and better value for its members.

“The formidable combination of a dedicated professional staff, excellent technology and a complete array of affordable financial products and services positions us to continue making a real difference in the financial lives of the people we serve,” Winwood said.

“Our credit union strives to embrace the merits of good citizenship by generously supporting a wide range of charitable organizations in the communities that we serve.” he added, “Throughout our long history, we have earned countless awards and commendations for our intensive year-round community involvement practices. We strive to embrace the merits of good citizenship — and expand our value to society.”

Winwood, who was re-elected to the board of directors during the meeting, said the credit union is looking to build on a foundation that goes back to its beginnings in 1939.

“First Choice America is proud of our rich heritage of serving our members and the communities in which they live for the past 79 years. We have established strong bonds with our members by providing the most cost-effective alternative for all their financial needs. We value and cherish these bonds, and are grateful to our members for their loyalty. We will never cease in our efforts to earn your business and your trust. We remain a safe haven, a reliable resource and a leader that you can count on for all your financial needs, both today and in the future.”

Kenneth R. Watts, president of the West Virginia Credit Union League, also spoke during the meeting.