2022 Annie Vamper Awardee Words of Acceptance
The three awardees share what community development and service mean to them
Gregg Brown, President and CEO, South Side Community Federal Credit Union
Gregg Brown is the founding President & CEO of the South Side Community Federal Credit Union (“SSCFCU”). SSCFCU's mission is to equalize economic power and fight poverty by improving financial education and providing credit and savings services for its members. SSCFCU is an MDI, a LICU, a CDFI, an approved SBA lender, and a HUD approved Housing Counseling agency.
Gregg Brown has over 39 years of community development banking experience. Under his leadership, SSCFCU has grown to over $7.2 million in assets serving close to 2000 members. It has trained over 4,000 people in its free financial education classes, provided 3600 people with one-on-one housing and credit counseling, and has helped 100's to become homeowners. SSCFCU has also saved over 1500 families from losing their homes to foreclosure. Brown is a graduate of Morehouse College and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Union's CDCU Institute. He also holds several executive banking certifications and honors. Most notably, he received the Community Heroes Award from the Local Initiative Support Corporation, the Frederick Sengstacke Award for excellence in community financial services by the Chicago Defender Charities, and he was named one of Chicago’s 15 Global Visionaries by WBEZ Chicago Public Radio.
Gregg Brown believes that credit unions are essential agents of change helping people achieve economic freedom through cooperative service.
"CDCUs play a vital role in shrinking the U.S wealth gap, with serving the underserved and marginalized being central to their core mission. They offer affordable financial services, education, one-on-one counseling and access to capital that is administered with a spirit of care. By improving the quality of life of those whom they were chartered to serve, they create a track record of service-oriented success that fills the wealth gap with equity and economic opportunities. Let us work together to accelerate their growth because at the end of the day it's just people helping people."
Judy De Lucca, CEO, New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union
Judy S. De Lucca joined New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union as a loan officer in March of 1980 and was named CEO in 1989. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin CUNA Management School, Judy received her Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE) designation in 1987. She also holds her Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC), Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expertise (CUERME), NAFCU Certified Compliance Officer (NCCO), and NAFCU Certified Volunteer Expert (NCVE) designations. She is an active member of the Louisiana Credit Union League and serves as a board director of the League. She also serves as the Vice President of the Louisiana Council of Credit Union Executives Society.
Judy was appointed to the Credit Union National Association Disaster Recovery Committee in 2006, and Firemen’s Federal was listed in CUNA’s Best Practices for Disaster Recovery under her leadership after Hurricane Katrina. Judy has been honored many times including being named Louisiana Credit Union Professional of the Year in 2008 by the Louisiana Credit Union League, was the recipient of the Credit Union Executives Society’s 2008 Glenn Johnson Council Award of Excellence for service to the credit union movement, and most recently recognized by New Orleans CityBusiness as a honoree for Women of the Year 2021 and as a Money Maker in 2022 for outstanding achievements in the financial services industry. Under her leadership, Firemen’s Federal has recognized as Best Credit Union in CityBusiness Reader Ranking Awards numerous times over the last decade. When Judy joined Firemen’s Federal, the credit union had $3m in assets with saving accounts and simple loans. Today, Firemen’s Federal is a $243m full-service financial institution serving over 27,000 members and more than 300 business partners across Louisiana and Mississippi. As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union proudly serves the underserved and brings a full array of financial service products to communities that have been underbanked and excluded by mainstream financial institutions.
"This recognition reminds us of why we do what we do and the impact we have on people’s lives. Too often, we see mainstream finance and predatory lending take advantage of our communities, leaving them worse than when they found them. These communities are made of people, each with a story and each deserving of time and respect. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve these communities and share the skills with them to achieve financial empowerment. What we do today matters tomorrow, and our team strives to pave the way for a better tomorrow."
Maria J. Martinez, President and CEO, Border Federal Credit Union
Maria J. Martinez is the President/CEO of Border Federal Credit Union (Border FCU), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), headquartered in Del Rio, TX, with over $200 million in assets and serving over 25,000 members. Maria has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting am is a proud Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). Her passion is making positive connections and being of service to others.
Under Martinez's leadership, BFCU expanded its field of membership from 3 to 13 Texas counties; obtained the Community Development Financial Institution Certification (CDFI) for BFCU; implemented a free home/financial counseling program available to members, military personnel and non-members; offers free income tax preparation to low-income tax payers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and targets youth through programs such as an annual youth fair and an annual youth financial summer camp.
Maria is an Associate Director of the PSCU Board; serves on the CUNA Board representing CUNA’s District 5, Class A credit unions; is a founding member and Vice-Chairwoman of the Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance (CUWLA); is a founding member and the Chairwoman of the National Association of Latino Credit Unions & Professionals (NLCUP); is a member of the CU DEI Collective group formed in 2019; serves on the CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) Board, CUNA World Affairs Committee; and volunteers in other boards and committees.
Among the recognition Maria has received for her professional accomplishments, community contributions and leadership are the 2017 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, the 2015 Woman of Distinction Award by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC), the 2016 Cornerstone Credit Union League Professional of the Year Award, and more.
Maria was born in Mexico, grew up in San Antonio, TX, and she is constantly advocating for financial wellness for all within the credit union system.
"Community development and serving others are important parts of my personal and professional growth. It is important to structure our financial services, and serve on boards and committees to learn from others and be of service. Our purpose should be to do good to others; it is a great investment that gives you unexpected returns! If we have the heart, we will pursue bold solutions, develop leaders in our industry and promote the 'people helping people' philosophy. Why not measure our success on the difference we can make and how we can inspire others to be of service!"