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Connex Awards Cash Prizes to Winners of its ConneXfactor Financial Fitness Competition
Posted on November 2nd, 2017

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (Oct. 31, 2017) – Local teacher, and mother of two, Brittany Corey was awarded the $3,000 grand prize during a special ceremony Wednesday, October 25, 2017, honoring the winners and participants of the fourth annual ConneXfactor financial fitness competition. Sponsored by Connex Credit Union through its ConnexCares philanthropic program, ConneXfactor challenged four individuals to spend six months competing to see who could improve their financial situation the most. Each participant was paired with a Connex Financial Advocate who acted as a coach, providing them with tips and guidance. A panel of judges reviewed each contestant’s total progress to determine the winners – which were as follows:
$3,000 Grand Prize Winner Brittany Corey

Giving birth to her second daughter just one day before the competition began, Brittany Corey was dedicated to freeing herself from debt so she could continue to grow her family with her husband and eventually live off one income. Corey worked closely with her coach, Connex Financial Advocate Mike Nowicky, to reduce her debt by more than $5,000, pay off her husband’s car loan, open college savings accounts for her daughters and still exceed her emergency fund deposit goal. 

“My whole concept of managing money changed forever throughout ConneXfactor,” said Corey. “I’ve realized what our true ‘needs’ are, and my overall spending habits have changed for the better.”

Corey embraced an entirely new financial lifestyle which included budgeting paychecks two months in advance and planning two-week’s worth of family meals at a time. She sold excess items and found gently-used, hand-me-down clothing for her children to wear. Corey also implemented creative saving measures such as planting a large vegetable garden and adopting seven ducks to harvest eggs as a way to reduce food costs.
“This contest helped me become financially accountable and responsible,” added Corey.
$1,000 First Place Winner Nina Wallace

[nina] As the landlord of a 3-family New Haven home, mental-health worker Nina Wallace found herself buried in more than $50,000 worth of debt accumulated by using her credit cards to manage the numerous expenses that accompany homeownership. 
During ConneXfactor, Wallace built up a successful online marketplace for her excess clothing and took a second job driving for Uber to earn additional income. Per suggestion from her coach and Manager of Connex’s New Haven Branch Tameeka Lockwood, Wallace also dedicated herself to developing an emergency fund that could help her avoid similar pitfalls in the future.

Wallace paid off two credit cards and toppled her savings goal by 50 percent while amassing an emergency savings account five times larger than her initial expectations. Thrilled about her accomplishments, Wallace has already imparted this newfound wisdom on her nephew who now does extra chores to earn money for the items he’d like to purchase.
$500 Second Place Winner Kayla Peterson

Saddled with student loan debt, Yale Psychiatric Case Manager Kayla Peterson joined ConneXfactor looking to take control of her finances so she could move out of her childhood home.

Peterson had never budgeted before and initially found the process rather difficult. With the help of Connex Financial Advocate Sherry Costa, and mobile applications that promote saving in a fun and interesting way, Kayla was able to still enjoy the things she loves while actively limiting frivolous spending.
Peterson paid down a bulk of her student loan and credit card debt while accumulating more than $1,000 in her emergency account and doubling her savings goal.
$250 Honorable Mention

Deborah Funaro received $250 for her achievements which included consolidating her credit card debt and funding her 401(k) savings plan. Like the other contestants, Funaro leaves the competition with the resources necessary to continue her financial prosperity long into the future.

“We strive to improve the lives of our members with every interaction,” said Carl Casper, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Connex Credit Union. “ConneXfactor is the embodiment of our commitment to customer advocacy and it was inspiring to witness the commitment these individuals made to completely restructuring their financial lives.”
Due to the success of the program, Connex will host a fifth season of ConneXfactor in 2018. Anyone looking to take control of their financial lives is encouraged to apply. Additional information and updates will be posted to as they become available early next year.
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 50,000 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. 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

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