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Credit Union News

Boost for United Way

First Choice America Credit Union continued its strong support for the Weirton United Way with a generous donation to the charity’s 35th Annual Golf Classic scheduled for Monday, June 13th at Williams Golf and Country Club.  At the check presentation, in the front row, are (l-r) Kenneth W. Truax, Credit Union Chairman; John Kirlangitis, Tournament Director; Tom McDonald, 2016 United Way Campaign Chair; and Linda Stear, United Way Executive Director.  In the second row (l-r) are Edward L. Kennedy, Credit Union First Vice Chairman; Robert G. Mrvos, Credit Union Treasurer; and John R. Thayer, Credit Union Director.  Standing in the back is Scott E. Winwood, Credit Union President/CEO and Director. The golf tournament is one of the premier events on the United Way fundraising schedule for the year.



Helping to Save Lives

Helping to fight the battle against cancer, First Choice America Credit Union renewed its Bronze Sponsorship of $500 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  The 2016 Relay for Life of Brooke/Hancock Counties is scheduled for Saturday, June 4-5 from 6pm to 12am at Follansbee Middle School.  Last year, more than $81,000 was raised in Brooke/Hancock Counties to aid in the fight against cancer.

Pictured are (l-r) Scott E. Winwood, President & CEO of First Choice America Credit Union and Tammy Hornick, Co-Chair of the Relay for Life of Brooke/Hancock Counties.    Tammy has been Co-Chair of the event for 12 years and thanked First Choice America for their continued support and generosity over the years.                                           




First Choice America Honors Employees

Pictured are the recipients of awards for service, seated from left to right are: Lynn A. Stake, Jeanine M. Keenan, Sandra Kinsel, Nancy Buchanan, and Tammy Fuoco.  Standing from left to right are: Carol Rodriguez, Paula Spataro, Sheldon McElfresh, Richard Bryan, and Karen Monigold. 

WEIRTON—“As Chairman of the Board, I wish to thank and congratulate each employee of First Choice America for your dedication, your pride, your team spirit and your commitment to excellence,” said Kenneth W. Truax at First Choice America Credit Union’s Annual Employee Appreciation event on Friday night, May 6th. Honored with service awards were 14 employees at a banquet held at the Williams Golf and Country Club in Weirton.
Truax noted, “Despite sluggish economic conditions and a continued low interest rate environment, First Choice America had another successful year.”  He noted that the business set all-time highs in several key financial categories – total assets of $425 million; deposits $364 million, and investments $277 million.
Additionally, First Choice America received another “Superior” rating from an official industry rating group for safety and soundness.  And once again, for the seventh consecutive year, the Credit Union received a flawless audit from our independent auditors, which is the eighth time the company has accomplished this distinction in the last nine years and is unparalleled in our Credit Union’s long history.  Both achievements demonstrate our unwavering commitment to excellence.
He added, “All of these things—accomplished in a weak economy—can only be attributed to the dedication, hard work, and pride of First Choice America’s skilled team of employees.  Clearly our employee group is exceptional, and on behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank and congratulate each of you for your excellent work”.  “Your collective skills, knowledge, and strong commitment make First Choice America the success it is today, and positions us for an even greater future.”
Also, First Choice America recently received the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award from the West Virginia Credit Union League in recognition of the Credit Union’s continued strong community support of those in need.  This represents the 13th consecutive year that First Choice America has received this distinguished honor.
Scott E. Winwood, President and CEO, and J. C. Peterman, Chief Financial Officer, presented the appreciation awards to the following employees for their service:
             45 years—Sondra K. Ronshausen
             35 years – V. Nancy Buchanan
             30 years – Richard D. Bryan
             25 years—Dawn M. Swiger
             20 years—Teresa M. Lewis
             15 years—Darlene Ellis, Tammy L. Fuoco, Karen D. Monigold, Paula Spataro, and Lynn A. Stake
             10 Years—Sheldon R. McElfresh
               5 Years—Jeanine M. Keenan, Sandra Kinsel, and Carol Rodriguez


Helping Rotary Charities

Repeating its traditional assistance, First Choice America Credit Union made a significant donation in support of the 2016 Weirton Rotary Club’s Kentucky Derby fundraiser. Pictured are Mike Gianni, Rotary member and Scott E. Winwood, President and CEO of First Choice America. This year’s 142nd  Kentucky Derby “Run For The Roses” will find Rotary and community boosters gathering at Williams Country Club on Saturday, May 7, 2016 for Weirton Rotary’s 12th Annual Charity Event.  From 5:30 to 10:30, there will be hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and entertainment by “T” & Rich Dueling Piano Show. 






First Choice America Sponsors Fashion Show RunWay
First Choice America Credit Union once again is serving as the runway sponsor for the 2016 Weirton United Way Fashion Show on Sunday, May 15 at 2 p. m. at the Serbian-American Cultural Center.  Tickets are $30 each and include dinner and the Fashion Show featuring apparel from SerendDipity Boutique.   Pictured are (, l-r) Linda Stear, Executive Director Weirton United Way; Tom McDonald, 2016 United Way Campaign Chair; Scott E. Winwood, President and CEO of the Credit Union; and Rachel Price  Administrative Assistant of the Weirton United Way.  The Weirton United Way supports 13 member agencies.




Community Spirit Award Announced
A highlight of the annual meeting of First Choice America Credit Union on Tuesday night was the presentation of the annual Community Spirit Award to Never Alone WV, a Weirton non-profit organization, which supports a drug free community and helps those struggling with addiction, their families, and all that are affected by this epidemic. The organization received a beautiful plaque and a cash award. Pictured are the Credit Union’s Board of Directors and the award winner (l-r) Edward L. Kennedy, Director; Kenneth W. Truax, Treasurer; Patti Barnabei, recipient of the Community Spirit Award, John R. Thayer, Chairman; Scott E. Winwood, Director; and Robert G. Mrvos, Director.   

    First Choice America Credit Union made headway in 2015 despite a struggling economy and vigorous competition.  Significant progress was achieved, reflecting a strong spirit of teamwork, efficiency, and remaining committed to the financial well-being of the members.  
    John R. Thayer, Chairman, said “Our employee team worked diligently to maintain a safe, sound and secure financial institution.” He listed these significant achievements in 2015:

  • Earned another Superior rating.

  • Grew assets to a record $422 million.

  • Expanded deposits to a record $362 million.

  • Maintained a strong capital position.

     “By renewing the distinction of once again earning a "Superior" rating from an official rating group for the excellence of our capital strength, asset quality and management ability, our credit union maintained its position among the very elite of America’s 6,225 credit unions,” he stated.  
    He added, “In addition, the 2015 edition of the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions listed First Choice America #96 out of 6,225 credit unions nationwide.”
    “These impressive achievements reflect the sincere commitment to success of the officials, management, and staff of First Choice America.  Our employee team is highly skilled, committed to excellence in serving you, and very proud of the significant strides made during the past year,” Thayer said.
He exclaimed, “We continue to offer consumers better rates on loans and deposits, more personalized service, and importantly, fewer fees than other financial institutions. We strive every day to maintain that competitive edge. We are proud to say that no new fees were enacted during the past year.”
    “On the other hand,” he said, “our banking competitors not only increased several current fees but in many cases initiated additional ones. So your membership in First Choice America is an important and meaningful economic advantage. It all adds up to better value for your money,” Thayer stated.
    He said, “The unbeatable combination of a dedicated professional staff, excellent technology, and an arsenal of financial products and services positions us to continue making a real difference in the financial lives of the people we serve.”
    “Across the decades,” he added, “our Credit Union has established an impressive record in its consistent and generous support of charitable organizations throughout the communities that we serve.  We have strong bonds with these communities and their residents, and make a sincere effort to assist when needed.”
     Concluding, Thayer said First Choice America remains a safe haven, a reliable resource, and a leader you can count on for all your financial needs, both today and in the future. “We will continue to deliver value to every member, every day, with every transaction, just like we have since our beginning in 1939 and with your continued support look forward to the future with optimism.”
     During the meeting, Scott E. Winwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Choice America, was reelected to the Board of Directors.  
     Kenneth Watts, President of the West Virginia Credit Union League, spoke to the audience regarding the value of their credit union membership and congratulated First Choice America on another successful year.  He complimented the Credit Union for its continued good stewardship in helping charitable organizations throughout its operating area.
    This year, the recipient of the credit union’s Community Spirit Award was Never Alone WV in Weirton, WV. Patti Barnabei founder and President was presented a plaque and cash award.
    Founded in 1939 in Weirton, First Choice America maintains eight offices in the Ohio Valley.


Visa Gift Cards Make Great Gifts!!
Do you have a hard to buy for person on your list?  Or do you want to give someone the freedom to buy what they want?    First Choice America has the perfect solution for you: a VISA Gift Card.  They are a great fit for anyone on your list.  You can buy a VISA Gift Card at any of
First Choice America's eight locations.

*There is a $2.00 fee for VISA Gift Cards.


Mardi Gras Sponsorship
First Choice America Credit Union renewed its Platinum Level sponsorship to the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights for its annual Mardi Gras Charity Ball scheduled for Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Williams Golf & Country Club. At the presentation are (l-r) Barb Barkley, Weirton Heights Rotary Club Member and Scott E. Winwood, President and CEO of the Credit Union.  All proceeds this year will benefit the Weirton Christian Center. The Mardi Gras event will feature music by the “Groove Doctors”, dancing, Hors d’oeuvres & other surprises.





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