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1st Financial Credit Union Awards 2013 Scholarships

Recently, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union (Wentzville, Mo.) announced the winners of the 2013 1st Financial Federal Credit Union Horizon and Right Stuff scholarships.

For 14 years, 1st Financial has awarded a $1000 scholarship to a graduating high school student to be used at the college or university of his or her choice. The Horizon scholarship is given to a student who is a member at 1st Financial with an exceptional academic history and evidence of a strong presence in his or her school and community. Applicants had to write a short essay on how credit unions are a better choice for consumers. This year the Horizon scholarship was awarded to Melanie Moore, a graduating high school senior from Hazelwood West High School and 1st Financial member. Melanie plans to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology this year with an anticipated focus in Ceramic Engineering.

The Right Stuff scholarship is awarded to an attending college student and 1st Financial member between the ages of 19 and 24. Applicants were asked to write an essay based on the impact of credit unions on the United States economy, as well as present evidence that they are involved in community and school activities with a strong focus on academic achievement. The $1000 scholarship was awarded to James Vigland, of Hazelwood. James attends Missouri State University and expects to graduate with a degree in Accounting and Economics by May of 2015.

“Banks are businesses," wrote James in his essay. "Their product is money and they operate to maximize profit. Credit unions are tax exempt, not-for-profit organizations, run by its members to serve its members. With profit not being the priority, it leaves room for lower interest rates. Instead of pocketing any profit made, it is distributed to the members via dividends. Every choice is made for the financial protection of its members. Today, credit unions still provide one of the most reasonably priced options for obtaining loans.”

“Supporting college students today helps build future leaders of business for tomorrow," said Mary Jo Garofalo, chief operations officer (COO) of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. "As a credit union, we feel strongly about financial education and literacy.” 

1st Financial Federal Credit Union utilizes many tools, such as the StepOne Checking and Savings account, specifically for teens, to stress the education of managing money. Empowering and cultivating young adults with financial education is merely the first step in ensuring that they are able to make sound and valuable financial decisions as they mature into adulthood.