Kevin Foster-Keddie proves `You can go home again'
OLYMPIA, Wash.-Kevin Foster-Keddie will be arriving in his home state of Washington as the president/CEO of Washington State Employees FCU here just in time for the Spring thaw, not that he minds a little snow on the roof. He started his credit union life in the shadow of these tall mountains, and his heart has always gravitated back home to family and friends. But it's been an interesting journey, he allowed, during a recent interview with Credit Union Times. Having grown up in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, Foster-Keddie went to Reed College in Portland, where he met his wife, Cam. He worked for NorWest Medical Federal Credit Union at the age of 19, and still has a membership there. "I'm sure the operations have changed a lot," he laughed, adding that "when I worked there, I hand-posted all transactions to ledger cards, hand-posted dividends, and balanced the bank recs myself." "I was the only employee, so I had to learn all aspects of credit union operations. It was great fun and a much better job than my previous position as a hospital janitor," said Foster-Keddie. NorWest now has assets over $2 million, more than 700 members and has doubled its number of employees since Foster-Keddie became its first volunteer-manager some 25-years ago, recalled current president Kay Holland. "He certainly went on to bigger and better things," she said. But so has NorWest, which then had only $40,000 in assets. Cam was also on the CU's board of directors, she recalled, even after Kevin left. But the CU is a tad more automated these days, having given up the hand posting style for a personal computer and DP system. But some things would still be familiar to even Foster-Keddie: the `many hats' that Holland and her assistant, Debbie Sandberg wear. "We do it all," she said, still. Those "bigger and better things" Foster-Keddie's moved on to include being president of some very large credit unions and a national CU leadership profile for his volunteer work on the oversight committee for the Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice while in the mix to help fight the banker lawsuit against credit unions. At Washington State Employee's CU, a $700 million, 106,000 member credit union, Foster-Keddie will replace the retiring Bill Brandt (CU Times, March 1). Brandt, modest perhaps to a fault, allowed that he was "pleased to have someone better than I step up to the plate. I've known him from various conferences and the committees on which he's served, and I'm confident he'll do just fine here." Brandt added that WSECU's "dynamic strategic-plan likely appeals to the strategy-driven" Foster-Keddie. This move follows a short stint (less than one year) as head of USAlliance FCU, Rye, New York. Before that, he served as CEO of Hughes Aircraft Employees FCU, Manhattan Beach, California, for two years. He's hoping the third time will be a charm, and looks forward to being near his family. Foster-Keddie will start in June, (on April 1 until his arrival, Linda Hollen will be appointed Acting CEO) after wrapping up some last minute details at USAlliance. He's turned around the CU, ( a bottom line difference in 1999 of 20 basis points to 100 BPs now) in preparation to stoke a retail strategy there for a growth plan, and feels confident he's leaving it in good form to accomplish the goals he accepted when he first took the helm. He's also had to deal with some legal challenges (CU Times, March 1) and feels confident about those as well. His work history also includes a period of 13 years at Xerox FCU, Los Angeles, a period when he earned his MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles. "My master's thesis was a business plan for a credit union service organization (CUSO). XCU Capital and Focus Insurance, the two CUSOs we formed at Xerox FCU have grown to be very successful enterprises and now serve some of the largest credit unions in the United States," he said proudly. There some 13 years, proving that his feet can be planted firmly, he and Cam made a family of five children. But during his time at USAlliance, his mother had a series of strokes, and he "felt a strong desire to return to the Northwest to be near her and the rest of my family." He and Cam will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this month, and he speaks of her, well, a little like a smitten schoolboy, which he freely admits to being when they met and courted. "Meeting her was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me," he said. Their children seem to have inherited both the hard work and success genes their parents possess. "Our oldest, Kate, graduated from Yale and played varsity volleyball for four years. Our oldest son, John, is a senior at Yale and is working on an Internet start-up (who isn't?). Our son, James, is a freshman at Tufts in Boston. Our daughter, Anne, is a sophomore and also plays volleyball. She is hoping to play for the Olympia High School team. She played at the Junior Olympics this past year. Emily is in seventh grade and loves to dance -swing, samba, salsa- play a tune, and she'll start dancing. She is also a mean sweeper on the soccer field." "We are very proud of our children. Besides being great kids, they are very hard workers," he understated. Foster-Keddie's two brothers, a sister, and six nieces and nephews all live in the Puget Sound area. "We get together often for hiking trips, poker games and just to enjoy home-cooked food and good times," he said. Look homeward, angel. -email@example.com