Edward Filene Credit Union Awards for Performance Excellence

The Filene's promote the improvement of performance excellence of individual activists and credit unions in Great Britain and Ireland in serving their own fields of membership and their wider communities, with the aim of inspiring, mobilising and galvanising them, to demonstrate to others their achievements and accomplishments over a wide range of activities in which all credit unions should be involved, to give all consumers the better alternative choice for financial services - the co-operative one!

The three Award sections - Leadership, Enterprise and Community - are set out below.  To be considered for the Supreme Award for Social Entrepreneurship, credit unions should submit entries for at least one category from each of the sections and six or more in total.  The Judges will be looking for entrants to meet the criteria of each category; for full descriptions of these, check out the buttons on the lowest bar on the above menu, where the entry conditions and scoring process used by the Judging Panel can also be viewed.  The online 2019 Entry Form is currently being updated but as soon as it is finalised, all will be notified by email. 

The Edward Filene Supreme Award for Social Entrepreneurship
(Traditionally the name of the winning credit union is known only to the Co-Trustees before presentation at the Dinner)
  • This is awarded for the highest aggregate score across all three sections and fifteen categories.
  • Provided the entry criteria are met, there is no maximum number of categories that can be entered, in fact the more entries, the greater the chance of success!
  • Each category should have an individual and separate entry that meets the different criteria required for that particular category.
  • If insufficient Award categories have been entered by too few credit unions, the Supreme Award will not be made - this has happened in previous years.


Credit union leaders are "grown" - learning their craft, growing through this process and stretching their abilities by actively serving others. Leaders are not necessarily delivered by the democratic process or by being appointed to a paid position.  Previous winners of the Leadership categories have demonstrated their dedication, drive, initiative and natural leadership qualities, performing well beyond the line of duty.

Excellence shown in performance by

  1. A Beacon Credit Union from Great Britain and the island of Ireland
  2. A Single Benefactor or Donor to a Credit Union
  3. A Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent, paid or unpaid) of a credit union
  4. A Young Leader, either paid or unpaid, aged between 17 and 35 years (as at 1st June 2018)
  5. Customer Service Officer/Teller of the Year

"First of all credit unions are a business"  All credit unions are businesses that must produce proven economic outputs.  A viable credit union can instigate and drive worthwhile social change - a desire for social change cannot drive a business, that is an authorised and regulated "Firm".

Excellence shown in performance ....

  1. By a credit union hosting:-  Young Savers Schemes in Primary and Secondary Schools - 4-16 years
                                                Young Adults Schemes in Secondary Schools/Further Education/Universities/Colleges and the workplace 
  2. In Achieving Business Growth applying internal innovatory methods and mobilising external support from the private sector
  3. In setting up “pop up” credit union services - outreaching the credit union to new consumers
  4. By a credit union pursuing International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Principle 6 “Co-operation amongst Co-operatives
  5. By a credit union serving as a financial incubator for seed, small and medium sized businesses operated by owner-members.
  6. By the “Friends” of a credit union - an entirely separate entity to a credit union, enabling it to undertake non-regulated activities

COMMUNITY For credit unions to become successful and maintain their success, they should continually outreach to the entire field of membership to first mobilise and then galvanise it to undertake undertake actions for the good of the entire community.   They have the unique "credit union difference" of providing personal individualised services to its "owner-members", who own the business, unlike other financial services businesses who service "customers" for the benefit of arms-length shareholders.

Excellence shown in performance ....

  1. By engaging in direct credit union advocacy with local and national politicians
  2. By a credit union engaging in community mobilisation and outreach, including dispensing credit union education and general financial information to the entire "Common Bond".
  3. By raising funds for any good causes (other than the credit union)
  4. In use of the media - how does your credit union inform the consumer that it's there?

strong>The following Award is open only to selected entrants, the winning of this does not count towards the Supreme Award  

“Edward Filene Credit Union Award for Performance Excellence by the winner of a category making a film about their entry and Credit Union

This Award is open to credit unions winning one or more categories, at which point (in utmost confidence) they will be requested to make this film which should cover specifically the activities described in their winning entries.

Only after the Judging Panel has made their decisions will the invitations go out to make this film.  The film editor, who compiles these films into an edited loop, acts as the Judge for this Award.   No prior notice will be given of success in this Award category. 

Good luck with your entries!   Any questions - don't hesitate to contact the Awards Office - see the "Helpline", also on the menu above