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Connex Cares - ConneXfactor Financial Fitness Competition
Posted on October 19th, 2016

​​Local Police Officer Marilisa Anania Receives $3,000 as Grand Prize Winner of ConneXfactor Financial Fitness Competition $5,000 in total prizes distributed at special recognition ceremony Oct. 12

​Connex Credit Union President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Mancini (left) presents a check worth $3,000 to 2016 ConneXfactor Grand Prize Winner Marilisa Anania (right).
NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (Oct. 18, 2016) – On Wednesay, Oct. 12, 2016, local police officer Marilisa Anania was awarded $3,000 as the grand prize winner of ConneXfactor during a special ceremony to honor all of the winners and participants.

ConneXfactor is a financial fitness competition sponsored by Connex Credit Union as a part of its ConnexCares philanthropic program where five individuals compete to see who can improve their fiscal situation the most in a six-month span. Each participant was paired with a Connex Financial Advocate who acted as a coach, providing them with tips and guidance throughout the duration of the contest.

“ConneXfactor has brought to life our commitment to customer advocacy and improving the financial lives of every Connex member,” said Carl Casper, vice president of customer advocacy, Connex Credit Union. “The progression made in just six months by these contestants is astounding and we are pleased ConneXfactor afforded us the opportunity to utilize our valuable resources and Financial Advocates to assist them in restructuring their financial futures.”

Successes were documented and closely monitored throughout the competition. A panel of judges reviewed each contestant’s progress to determine the winners.

$3,000 Grand Prize Winner Marilisa Anania,Financial stress due to significant debt from student loans, superfluous credit card use and purchasing a car was a burden on 26-year-old West Haven resident Marilisa Anania’s daily life. Coach Michelle Panzo, who also guided the winner of the 2015 ConneXfactor competition, helped Anania develop specific goals including paying down credit card and student loan debt, saving for a home and increasing her credit score.
Anania garnered a newfound appreciation for the importance of money management. Budgeting became an essential part of her life as she began to save funds weekly as opposed to scrambling for money to pay bills at the end of each month. Portions of each paycheck were distributed into special purpose accounts ensuring money was always available when a payment was due. 
Anania was also encouraged to pay off her high-interest credit cards first. With money readily available in these special purpose accounts she was able to make consistent payments, avoid costly late fees and ultimately exceed her credit debt reduction goal by $400. Furthermore, her credit score rose 40 points during this process.
Her ability to tackle debt while simultaneously cultivating a savings that exceeded her original expectations by $2,000 earned Anania the title of 2016 ConneXfactor champion and a check worth $3,000.
“Words cannot express how thankful I am for this opportunity,” said Marilisa Anania. “Reinvigorating my financial strategy has not only impacted my life today, but has also put me on a path towards a successful financial future.”

$1,000 First Place Winner Jennifer Johnson
Jennifer Johnson found herself at a financial crossroads by depleting her savings to pay off debt and alleviate monthly expenses. Coach Michael Federico helped Johnson realize she lacked a proper plan for the allocation of each paycheck. Adapting consistent procedures to track her finances, Johnson established an appropriate timeline for her financial goals which kept her engaged while stimulating steady progression.
Johnson paid off all her credit card debt, made additional contributions towards her student loans and still managed to exceed her savings goal, earning her $1,000 as the first runner-up in ConneXfactor.

$500 Second Place Winner Christine Cohen
Christine Cohen, a mother of three, was so focused on managing her successful business that she procrastinated in planning for her children’s education and her retirement. Working alongside Coach Kerry Perotta, Cohen refinanced the mortgage on her home and used the additional monthly income to generate a fund for her children’s education and make payments toward a life insurance policy.
Furthermore, Cohen improved her financial future by developing a retirement strategy for both her and her husband after meeting with Connex Investment and Retirement Service’s Representative William DeBille. 
Cohen completes ConneXfactor with a stronger understanding of both her current and future financial strategies and as a recipient of $500 for finishing in second place. 

$250 Supplementary Prizes
Natalya Carmona-Bryant and Ruth Carruth each received $250 for their participation, and like the other three contestants, leave the competition with the resources necessary to manage their financial situation.
Due to the success of the program, Connex plans to continue ConneXfactor in 2017.
Please visit the ConneXfactor blog at for additional information and financial tips.

About ConnexCares:
ConnexCares is Connex Credit Union’s charitable and philanthropic program. The mission through ConnexCares is to promote financial literacy, well-being and understanding to our members and the greater communities Connex serves.

About Connex Credit Union:
As the Unbank, Connex Credit Union is one of Connecticut’s largest credit unions serving more than 46,000 members at 7 branches throughout greater New Haven. Headquartered in North Haven, Connecticut, Connex is a full-service member-owned credit union that offers members a full-range of financial services and products, including savings and loans, Unbank Checking, Smart Score credit score range, free online and mobile banking and more. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in New Haven, Hartford, Middlesex or Fairfield Counties. Connex Credit Union helps guide and improve members’ financial lives through the Connex Advocacy Promises: We will always work in your best interest; we will work with you to understand your goals, identify your financial needs and provide solutions to improve your life; and we will be responsive to you and make your experience simpler, faster and friendlier. It’s time to Unbank! For more information, please call 1-800-CR-UNION or visit
Jennifer Johnson, First place winner
Christine Cohen, Second Place Winner

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