Awards & Recognition

Awards & Recognition


At Frontwave, we aren’t very big on tooting our own horn. We work hard and stay focused on making our Members’ financial dreams come true. But every so often, we do get recognized by community members, our peers and industry leaders for our expertise and dedication to our community, our Members and our employees. And even we can agree that’s something worth celebrating.

Best of the Best Awards

San Diego’s Best Credit Union & Best Mortgage Company

In 2022, Frontwave was once again voted San Diego’s Best Credit Union and San Diego's Best Mortgage Company in the San Diego Reader’s annual Best-Of Poll. Each year, the San Diego Reader invites San Diegans to nominate their favorite San Diego-based businesses, restaurants and activities to be named to the Best-Of list. The top 5 nominees in each category then go head-to-head in a month-long voting process. Nearly 200,000 votes were cast and Frontwave was honored to be declared the winner in both categories it was nominated for.

This is the third consecutive year in a row Frontwave has been voted San Diego’s Best Credit Union, with prior wins in 2020 and 2021. It's also the second time in two years the credit union has been named San Diego's Best Mortgage Company, previously winning in 2020 and being named a finalist in 2021.

San Diego Best Credit Union Best Mortgage Company 2022

U.S. Department of the Navy Credit Union of the Year

Frontwave Credit Union was honored by the U.S. Department of the Navy with the Distinguished Small Credit Union Service Award for 2021. The award was presented at the Defense Credit Union Council Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX, on August 2, 2022.

Presented annually, the award recognizes on-base financial institutions that provide extraordinary service. This year’s award recognized Frontwave for the distinguished service and financial education it provides to Marines, Sailors and civilians aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

This is the sixth time in the last eight years that Frontwave has been honored by the Department of the Navy for its service to Marines and Sailors, having won Credit Union of the Year in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020 and now 2021.

Navy Best Credit Union Award 2020

Best Bank in the Morongo Basin

In 2022, Frontwave was voted Best Bank in the Morongo Basin for the third straight year in the Hi-Desert Star Reader’s Choice Awards. The Morongo Basin encompasses the cities of Morongo Valley, Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, and Yucca Valley. After several years of being named the Runner Up for the Best Bank category, Frontwave overtook the competition, including big banks like Chase and Wells Fargo, in 2020 and retained the top spot in 2021 and 2022 thanks to the commitment of is dedicated Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms branch associates.

Morongo Best of 2022 A+ Rating

In 2021, Frontwave Credit Union has been awarded an A+ rating; the highest financial health grade given out by DepositAccounts, a division of This financial analysis of banks and credit unions was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to help consumers feel confident that their financial institution is on solid financial footing.

Community Leadership

North San Diego Business Chamber Business Leadership Award

In June of 2020, Frontwave was presented with the North San Diego Business Chamber’s Business Leadership Award for our response to the COVID-19 crisis. When the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was introduced earlier that year, Frontwave quickly sought and was granted SBA approval to accept applications for the forgivable loan program designed to help small businesses weather the Coronavirus pandemic. At a time when major banks were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of PPP applications, the Frontwave PPP Task Force was able to process each application within 48-72 hours, get approval from the SBA instantaneously and provide funds for the applicants almost immediately. In total, Frontwave funded over 169 PPP loans, providing more than $6 million to help local businesses fight through the challenging times wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defense Credit Union Council Hall of Honor

In 2022, the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) selected Col. Richard Rothwell, USMC (Ret.) into its prestigious Hall of Honor. Rothwell has served for 31 years on Frontwave Credit Union's Board of Directors, including 10 as Chairman. He was recognized for his dedication to service and support of DCUC’s mission to further safe and secure financial services to our nation’s military and veterans.

In 2021, the DCUC selected retired Frontwave Board Member Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.) George Hoagland for induction into the Hall of Honor. Hoagland, the inaugural recipient of the Frontwave Credit Union Lifetime Achievement Award, retired from the Frontwave Board of Directors in March of 2021 after an exemplary 53 years of service to the credit union.

Established in 2000, the coveted DCUC Hall of Honor award highlights the outstanding accomplishments of leaders, volunteers, management and staff whose untiring efforts and endless support have made a significant and most noteworthy difference in the defense credit union community.

Workplace Excellence

Peter Barron Stark Companies Award for Workplace Excellence

Frontwave Credit Union is a nine-time recipient of the Award for Workplace Excellence from Peter Barron Stark Companies, based on the results of our employee opinion surveys. These surveys measure employee engagement and job satisfaction, the results of which are benchmarked to those of over 300 well-known businesses throughout the United States. Thanks to our workplace values and commitment to our Members and employees, Frontwave has consistently ranked among the best of the best, winning the Award for Workplace Excellence in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2010, 2008 and 2006.

“We believe that we have alignment between our corporate values and the personal values of our Frontwave staff,” said Bill Birnie, President and CEO of Frontwave Credit Union. “We work hard every day to make financial dreams come true for our Members by acting together as One Team, always keeping our core values of Passion, Innovation, and Excellence at the forefront of everything we do.”

Marketing and Business Development

CUNA Diamond Awards

In 2022, Frontwave was honored with three Diamond Awards from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council, which recognizes outstanding marketing and business development achievements in the credit union industry. Frontwave was recognized for excellence in the categories of Brand Awareness, Digital Advertising and Financial Education.

Frontwave has also received numerous other Diamond and Category's Best Awards in the past, including in:

  • 2021 - Frontwave received Diamond Awards for Complete Campaign, Brand Awareness, Multi Media, and Digital Advertising. 
  • 2020 - Frontwave won Category’s Best Awards for Digital Advertising, Business Development Efforts, and Point of Sale Display & Retail Merchandising; and received Diamond Awards for Membership Marketing, Brand Awareness and Complete Campaign.
  • 2019 - Frontwave won Category’s Best Award for Re-Brand and New Corporate Identity; and received Diamond Awards for Logo, Plastic Card Design, and Non-Commercial Video work.

MAC Awards

In 2022, Frontwave was honored with a MAC Gold Award for excellence in direct mail marketing from the Marketing Association of Credit Unions, which recognizes outstanding marketing achievements in the credit union industry. 

Frontwave has also received numerous other MAC Awards in the past, including in:

  • 2021 - Frontwave won a Silver Award for Broadcast Radio campaign, and Bronze Awards for Online and Print Advertising and Business Development.
  • 2020 - Frontwave won Gold Awards for its “Value Lasts a Lifetime” Comprehensive Campaign, Outdoor Media (train wrap), Online/Print Media, and Team Store Point-of-Sale Display; and Silver Awards for its General Awareness Campaign, and Business Development. Frontwave was also one of only five credit unions nominated for the prestigious MAQUEE Award.
  • 2019 - Frontwave received four MAC Awards, including the Gold Awards for Brand Video, Logo Design, and Culture/Internal Branding, as well as a Silver Award for Image Enhancement (Public Relations, Rebranding, Brand Awareness, and Financial Education).

San Diego Advertising Awards

In 2022, Frontwave received 9 ADDY Awards at the San Diego 2021 American Advertising Awards. The mission of the American Advertising Awards is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in advertising. It is one of the largest advertising competitions in the industry, with nearly 35,000 professional and student submissions annually. Frontwave was awarded for excellence in the categories of Annual Reports, Posters, Radio Advertising, Internet Commercials, Video Branding, and Cross Platform Integrated Campaigns.

Frontwave was also recognized in 2021, receiving eight ADDYs in the categories of Apparel, Email, Online Video and Online Radio advertising.