Consumer Federation of America Honors Iconic Credit Union Industry Advocate
WASHINGTON -- One of the credit union industry’s most celebrated consumer advocates was accorded yet another national honor Wednesday night at the Consumer Federation of America’s 42nd Annual Awards Dinner.
The consumer movement’s leading organization recognized Larry Blanchard with its highest civilian honor by naming him recipient of the 2012 Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award. Ms. Peterson was a lifelong consumer advocate who served in the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter.
Blanchard, who retired in 2008 as SVP of Corporate and Legislative Affairs for CUNA Mutual Group and is currently a senior consultant for the company, was recognized along with Philip Hart Public Service Award winners U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and Brooksley E. Born, former chairperson, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Betty Furness Consumer Media Service Award winner, Marketplace, a radio program on business.
“While the Esther Peterson Award honors consumer service, it pays tribute to the realization that it is teamwork that brings about the results,” Blanchard said in accepting the award. “Teamwork has made every achievement possible on behalf of consumers through the good times and difficult times. And without my teammates, I would not be standing here tonight."
In presenting Blanchard’s award on behalf of the CFA, Pete Crear, former CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions, credited Blanchard with “strengthening credit unions and the credit union movement for more than a half century with his committed, energetic and skillful work.”
Among Blanchard’s national consumer-oriented accomplishments was his key role in Operation Grassroots, the 1991 fight to maintain independence for credit unions.
But perhaps Blanchard’s most celebrated feat was his leadership in the Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice in 1996. He led the charge for credit unions, cooperatives, and consumer and labor organizations in getting H.R. 1151 passed into law, which protected the rights of consumers to choose their financial institutions.
Blanchard, who began his career with credit unions at age 17, is a National Credit Union Foundation Herb Wegner Memorial Award recipient, a Credit Union House Hall of Leaders inductee, a CUNA Mutual Group Bergengren Award winner, and a Credit Union Executives Society Hall of Fame member. He was named an Honored Cooperator by the National Cooperative Business Association in 2002, then was inducted into the NCBA’s Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2003, he was also recognized by NAFCU as one of the 10 most influential people in shaping the credit union movement’s future in the last 35 years.
“Larry has been unrelenting in his fight for credit unions, co-ops and consumers throughout his distinguished career,” said Jeff Post, president and CEO of CUNA Mutual Group. “CUNA Mutual and the credit union movement have been fortunate to have someone of his conviction as its advocate in preserving the people helping people philosophy.”
Blanchard has also served on the boards of the Consumer Federation of America, the National Cooperative Business Association and the National Credit Union Foundation.
CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual Group’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s website at www.cunamutual.com.
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.