Congratulations to the 2021 NAFCU Services Innovation Award Winners

I am privileged to announce this year’s Innovation Award winners. Every year, this awards program recognizes some of the most valuable contributions to our industry. A panel of esteemed judges from different segments of the credit union industry reviews these groundbreaking advancements in technology, software, digital media, campaigns and more, and evaluates the entries based on degree of innovation and impact on credit union success.

The 2021 Innovation Award Winners are:

Allied Solutions for Refund Plus

Streamlines and manages the entire product cancellation and refund process with automated file transmission and review, reporting and data analytics, validation of refund amount — tolerance acceptance, and more. This provides a lower-cost, efficient, and member-centric solution for risk and liability mitigation, reporting, and auditing of cancellations and refunds.

Blend for Digital Lending Platform

From applying for and closing on a mortgage to opening a new checking account or securing an auto loan — members demand an easy omnichannel experience every step of the way. With Blend, credit unions can be there for their members’ major financial moments.

CUNA Mutual Group for Stronger Together

A platform to demonstrate CUNA Mutual Group’s passion and commitment to helping people (employees, customers, partners and communities) stay healthy and safe during times of crisis and well beyond. With one strong message, this campaign helped bring a sense of calm to an otherwise chaotic situation.

DDJ Myers for Virtual Emerging Leaders Program

The program provides emerging leaders with the learning, community, and tools necessary to cultivate, nurture and act on their potential as rising executives. The award-winning Emerging Leaders Program had been delivered annually since 2013; due to the global pandemic and continued high demand, the program was redesigned to be exclusively delivered virtually.

DefenseStorm for CyberFraud

The only fraud defense solution built for banking to deliver complete cyber safety and soundness to its credit union customers. It provides an integrated solution for Information Security and BSA/AML Fraud departments in a single platform.

FIS for Premium Payback

A fully integrated loyalty platform designed to address the retailer’s need to acquire more members and the financial institution’s need for their card to be “top-of-wallet” by letting the consumer’s utilize their reward benefits on everyday spending without friction or hassle.

Velocity Solutions for Account Revenue Solution™

Allows credit unions to leverage big data and digital strategies to more successfully onboard new accounts, engage members, boost transactional activity and encourage cross-selling with the goal of increasing a CU’s non-interest income and to establish the credit union as their members’ primary financial institution.

Wolters Kluwer for TSoftPlus

Enables PPP loan forgiveness applications with digital tools such as e-signature functionality that advances lenders’ capabilities and eliminates the need for in-person PPP transactions. Wolters Kluwer’s acquisition in later 2020 of eOriginal, which offers a digital loan platform that enables SBA electronic signature for digital loans, further enhanced the solution’s capabilities.

We’re so excited about these Preferred Partners, and all the innovative and passionate work they continue to put into progressing our industry. They’re spanning every need, with a deep understanding of the digital transformation and user experience developments that impact member retention and growth on a day-to-day basis. They’re not just fostering collaboration and ingenuity in our credit unions, but in our communities at large.

Make sure to register for our 2021 Innovation Spotlight event on July 28 at nafcu.org/innovation2021, where we’ll showcase demonstrations from these winning companies and others, along with keynote sessions, panels, industry updates and other interactive opportunities to keep the conversation going.


Randy Salser is president of NAFCU Services.

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