ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Credit Union Network has selected the CEO of a small Denver CU to be its new staff head effective Jan. 8.
Culminating a search that began last spring, the state league hired Mark Cummins, president of the $45 million White Crown Federal Credit Union since 1994 and a former Colorado banker, as its president/CEO.
Cummins, 50, is also vice chairman of the Credit Union Association of Colorado and chairman of its Government Affairs Committee.
He succeeds Kevin Chandler, who left on what were said good terms, but "by mutual agreement" last March to take a job in June as president/CEO of the Connecticut Credit Union Association.
"Mark really embodies the very best that small credit unions can offer to the industry because of his selfless devotion to credit union causes," said John Dill, the president/CEO of the Colorado trade group, calling the job switch "our loss and Minnesota's gain.
Richard Nesvold, chairman of the 160-member Minnesota Network and president/CEO of SouthPoint Federal Credit Union, Sleepy Eye, said in a formal statement that Cummins "possesses the combination of industry background and political experience" needed by the Network.
One of Cummins' first tasks will be to deal with the growing concern among CUs across the state regarding mutual conversions following the announcement in October by the $1.2 billion Think Federal Credit Union of Rochester of plans to switch to a mutual savings bank.
Think is not a member of the Network, but the prospect of conversion has been a high profile issue for weeks on the minds of some CU managers, a number of whom have remained mostly "curious" about such a charter change, said Nesvold.
Meanwhile, the Network board in its conversion stance has closely tracked CUNA disclosure and self-determination policies as part of its goal to bolster the CU charter on both the state and federal level.
Because of its out-of state branch footprint, said Nesvold, Think apparently is choosing the MSB route and on that score each CU "has to act in what it sees as its best interest." However, that is not the choice of SouthPoint, Nesvold's CU.
Regarding the appointment of Cummins, Nesvold said the Network hired HRValue of Middleton, Wis., to head up the job search following Chandler's departure.
Head of the search committee for the Network has been Harry Carter, CEO of Topline Credit Union, Maple Grove.
Apart from conversions, Nesvold said the Minnesota trade group faces a major challenge in confronting the continued CU decline due to mergers and the impact it has on network dues and financing.
Serving as interim CEO of the network since Chandler's exit has been Peter Skaalen, chief operating officer, who will continue in that capacity, said Nesvold.
"I love my job at this credit union, but the challenge of running a state league, and dealing with a new audience was too good to pass up," said Cummins.
Declining to comment on the conversion matter, he said he wanted to get his feet wet with the membership before discussing it.
He has had experience with mergers since White Crown a year ago merged the $20 million Denver Media Credit Union.
In addition to being vice chairman of CUAC, Cummins is also director of the Credit Union Indirect Lending Association, CUES Rocky Mountain Council and Suncorp Corporate ALCO Committee. Cummins has had 28 years experience in CUs and banks. Prior to joining White Crown, he was chief operating officer of Sunwest Educational Credit Union of Pueblo. Calling himself a "reformed banker," Cummins, a Denver native and a business graduate of the University of Colorado, previously was vice president of operations at Affiliated Bankshares of Colorado in Fort Collins, which later was bought out by Bank One, now Chase. Heaping praise on Cummins last week was Dill of the Colorado CU League who said Cummins represents a core CU value of devotion to the industry, and somewhat uncommon among managers of small CUs. That's because those CEOs are frequently hard pressed to run their own shops rather than commit time and resources to trade group service. "Mark has long been a champion for grassroots leadership," said Dill citing his consistent participation in CUNA's GAC conference and Hike the Hill, plus his role at the state and federal level on legislation.
Cummins was instrumental, said Dill, in helping enact a bill in the Colorado legislature this year on the filing of auto liens that is saving Colorado CUs $500,000 in paperwork costs.
"I look forward to working with Mark in his new capacity," Dill concluded.