Christopher Whalen Of Connex Cu Voted Winner Of Co Op Think Prize 14



RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (May  22, 2014) - Christopher Whalen of Connex Credit Union, North Haven, Conn., is the winner of the CO-OP THINK Prize 14, and recipient of $10,000, for his idea for "Mobile One: A Complete Financial Solution."

The ideas of the three finalists were presented to attendees of THINK 14 in New Orleans, La., during the course of conference. Whalen, Marketing and E-Services Specialist for Connex CU (, was announced the winner at the conference's final General Session the morning of May 22.

The two other finalists were:

  • Sanam Kazi, Project Coordinator; Chicago Patrolmen's FCU (, Chicago, Ill. "Customizable Website for Financial Education to Credit Union Members."
  • Brett Wooden, SVP of Marketing and IT; Cy-Fair FCU (, Houston, Texas. "Embrace a Child's Imagination to Develop Financial Literacy."

The $10,000 award to Whalen was presented by CO-OP Financial Services and CO-OP THINK Prize 14 sponsor MasterCard.

As Whalen explained the idea to the judges in his business plan, "MobileOne will be an exciting new mobile platform that provides a complete financial solution for credit union members across the country. MobileOne will make mobile banking truly mobile banking. (The vision is) to consolidate fragmented mobile solutions from within and outside the credit union industry into one platform."

"CO-OP Financial Services congratulates all three of our finalists on their innovative ideas," said Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. "Our goal with the CO-OP THINK Prize is to promote and inspire creative thinking on industry issues, and each of the three final business plans were wonderful displays of that."

The business plans of CO-OP THINK Prize entrants can take any form - such as an innovative application of technology, a new process for back office efficiency or a fresh approach to industry advertising and marketing. Though the ideas can vary widely, the judging criteria for entries are based on four main standards - impact, creativity, aggregation (the application of the idea across the industry) and implementation (the ability to be adopted quickly). The three CO-OP THINK Prize finalists were selected by judges from CO-OP Financial Services and the Filene Research Institute.

The final decision on the winner was based on the voting of the judges, online voters and that of registered THINK 14 attendees.

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About CO-OP Financial Services

Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and founded in 1981, CO-OP Financial Services is the nation's largest credit union service organization in terms of number of credit unions, assets and members. The company helps credit unions thrive by providing products and services that make it more convenient for members to do business with them. With a motto of "Be There. Be More," CO-OP's products fall into three business lines, including "Locations," (ATM, shared branching and call center services); "Card Payments" (debit and credit processing) and "Mobile/Virtual" (mobile, online, check imaging, bill pay services). To learn more visit