FERNDALE, Mich. - Releasing few details, Credit Union ONE will only say that Armando Cavazos, president/CEO, has taken an "indefinite leave of absence."
Cavazos began the leave of absence April 18, said Gary Moody, vice president of strategic alliances, who is serving as interim president/CEO of the $802 million credit union. Moody would not provide any further details on why Cavazos left. "There is nothing to discuss," Moody said. Cavazos is well-known in the credit union industry having served more than 30 years in the movement. He is a former director and vice chairman of the Michigan Credit Union League Board, a former director of the Michigan Automated Clearing House Association, and a former national director of CUNA and affiliates. Cavazos has also served as chairman of the CUNA Hispanic Outreach Task Force and director of the CO-OP Network. Cavazos also serves as treasurer on Credit Union ONE's board and was re-elected to that post in April. Attempts to reach Cavazos were unsuccessful. William Coyne, the credit union's board chairman, could also not be reached. Guadalupe Lara, board vice chairman, did not want to provide any details on Cavazos' absence. "I'm not going to discuss this," Lara said. Cavazos, who started at the credit union in 1974 as a supervisor in the accounting department, became CEO in 1986. Under his helm, it grew from $106 million in assets and 70,000 members to $802 million and more than 116,000 members, making it one of the largest credit unions in the state. Cavazos serves on the board of Reston, Va.-based OnLine Investments, Inc., a financial services holding company that owns MyStockFund, a product that allows long-term investors to implement a dollar-cost-averaging program and re-invest their dividends, the Web site reads. An official from the Michigan Credit Union League, said she first heard of Cavazos' departure from Credit Union Times but nothing else beyond that. Moody, who has been in the top spot for nearly three weeks, is a former vice president of government and public affairs for the Michigan Credit Union League and previously served on Credit Union ONE's board. According to NCUA Financial Performance Report data, the credit union had a net worth/total assets ratio of 6.77%, as of March 2006. Its return on average assets was negative 16% while net worth growth was negative 18.51% and investment growth was negative 39.19%. Market share growth was 19.79%, loan growth was 2.12% but asset growth was negative 6.63%. Expenses were somewhat high at 5.15% compared to its peers. One credit union CEO who chose to remain anonymous said his guess would be a "difference of personalities" on why Cavazos is on "leave" but "that seems odd given his time on the job." "It's got to be that performance (ROA and expenses) issue," the CEO said. "The fact is that if we (as CEO's) can't deliver on that, the board may have no choice but to cut the ties." Another industry official who knows Cavazos had "heard rumors" but felt uncomfortable speculating on what may have happened.