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May 2, 2023   •   News   Press Release  

National Association Names SAFE's Amanda Merz Credit Union Hero of the Year

Folsom, Calif. – (May 1, 2023) – The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Credit Union Magazine today named SAFE Credit Union Community Impact Manager Amanda Merz the 2023 Credit Union Hero of the Year.

Merz – a staunch advocate for improving the health and well-being of community members and veterans through SAFE's philanthropic efforts – was chosen from among three other nominees in the country for the honor.

"Amanda Merz takes a holistic approach to her work," says Credit Union Magazine Publisher Michelle Willits. "She has a well-rounded focus on the physical, mental, and financial health of members and the community. She knows the smallest actions can make the biggest impact."

SAFE Credit Union Community Impact Manager Amanda Merz

SAFE Credit Union Community Impact Manager Amanda Merz

In the magazine's announcement, the association recognized Merz's insight into the needs of those living in Sacramento-area communities and her deep ties with nonprofits in the region.

"I am so excited to hear I have been named Credit Union Hero of the Year," Merz says. "This means so much because credit unions do so many great things all year round across the state and nation, and to think the work I have the privilege to do receives an award such as this means a lot."

The Credit Union Hero of the Year – chosen each year after a nationwide search and online poll – demonstrates leadership through community initiatives as well as credit union movement advocacy and a "dedication to the credit unions' people helping people philosophy," reads the Credit Union Times announcement.

"It is with great pride for us at SAFE that Amanda has been recognized on such a national stage," says SAFE Credit Union Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Allison Yee-Garcia. "Whether it's through building bridges with nonprofits, financial education, or volunteerism, she really takes the time to peel back the layers and make real and sincere connections."

Merz oversees the credit union's philanthropic endeavors, including grants, scholarships, sponsorships, volunteerism, and donation programs, while fostering external and internal relationships key to actualizing positive and extensive corporate citizenship.

In her role, Merz has grown SAFE's Community Sustainability Grant Program to include more recipients and doubled scholarship awards in its high school scholarship program. She hopes to further expand SAFE's scholarship program to include assistance for adults returning to complete their college degree. Under her leadership, the number of SAFE employees volunteering has increased each year.

She began her career with SAFE in 2014 as a financial education coordinator.

In addition to her award, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce board recently named Merz as their new chair. She serves as the Vice President for Resource Development for the Sierra College Foundation.

Upon hearing of her initial nomination, SAFE Credit Union Assistant Vice President of Community Relations Rebecca Delmundo lauded Merz's dedication.

"Amanda just wants to make Sacramento better," says Delmundo. "Whether it's through the programs that she manages, or through volunteerism, she shows up and she makes an impact every time."

When asked why she works to improve the community, the once stay-at-home mom of three says her nature fuels her dedication.

"I don't know how to be any other way, serving the community, finding ways to uplift people's lives, help people find their own way to make an impact," Merz says. "It drives me and fills my soul. It is just how my DNA works. I wouldn't know how to be any other way."

For more information email [email protected].

About SAFE

SAFE Credit Union has made members an integral part of its vision since 1940. Over the years the credit union has kept the focus on what really matters, putting members first, a formula that has seen SAFE grow into a leading financial institution in Northern California with $4.5 billion in assets and about 234,000 members. SAFE crafts every cutting-edge product and sterling service with members' needs foremost in mind. In addition to banking services conveniently available through online, chat, mobile, or phone options, SAFE offers in-person services for members and small businesses at service centers across the Greater Sacramento region. SAFE is a not-for-profit, state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by NCUA. www.safecu.org

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