First Choice awarded, lauded

CREDIT UNION AWARD — A highlight of Tuesday’s annual meeting of First Choice America Credit Union was the presentation of the annual Community Spirit Award to the Crittenton Services Inc. of Wheeling. This nonprofit organization supports the community by embracing children and families in need with nurturing services to help them achieve self-sufficiency. The organization received a plaque and a cash award of $2,500. Among those on hand for the presentation were, from left, Edward L. Kennedy; John R. Thayer; Phil Powell, Crittenton Services CFO; Scott E. Winwood; Kenneth W. Truax; and Robert G. Mrvos. -- Contributed

WEIRTON — First Choice America Credit Union continued to make significant progress in 2019, its 80th year, amid tough competition and a lackluster economy. The credit union moved steadily forward with the excellent performance of a dedicated employee team and the tremendous support and loyalty of its 38,000 members, who remain the bedrock of its business.

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

He listed these significant achievements in 2019:

¯ Grew assets to a record $468 million.

¯ Expanded deposits to a record $396 million.

¯ Maintained 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 stated.

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

First Choice America has announced major improvements to its current offerings of tech products and services. First, its website has been completely renovated. With this extensive makeover, the site offers a fresh, new look along with easy-to-read pages and navigation. Area residents can check it out at firstchoiceamericacu.org.

Second, the credit union has created a new mobile banking app, which will enhance its existing mobile banking experience with a new appearance and several innovative features such as: Touch unlock, facial recognition and much more while maintaining the mobile experience members trust. Through the app, members can still take First Choice anywhere and have access to their accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the future, the credit union intends to continue maximizing investments in technology to better serve its members and strengthen its position in a very competitive marketplace. While keeping pace with the latest technology, First Choice will continue to offer members better rates on loans and deposits, more personalized service and fewer fees than other financial institutions.

First Choice enacted no new fees during the past year, it was noted.

Membership in First Choice America is an important and meaningful financial advantage and it adds up to better value for your money, officials explained.

The combination of a dedicated professional staff, excellent technology and a complete array of affordable financial products and services positions the credit union to continue making a real difference in the financial lives of area residents.

The credit union works to embrace the merits of good citizenship by supporting a wide range of charitable organizations in the communities it serves. It has earned countless awards and commendations for its intensive year round community involvement practices. Officials added they strive to embrace the merits of good citizenship — and expand the credit union’s value to society.

“First Choice America is proud of our rich heritage of serving our members and the communities in which they live for more than 80 years,” Winwood added. “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 both 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.”

During the meeting, Edward L. Kennedy and John R. Thayer were re-elected to the board of directors. Kenneth R. Watts, president of the West Virginia Credit Union League, offered comments.

Founded in 1939 in Weirton, First Choice America maintains eight offices in the Ohio Valley.