HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Former NCUA Board Member Robert Swan has died of complications from a stroke.
"The really cool thing about Bob is that he was a true Renaissance Man," said California Credit Union Senior Vice President Chris Kerecman who was Swan's chief assistant at NCUA. "He had an MBA, was an accountant, was very into politics and yet he was also an avid musician, extraordinary athlete and golfer and was very dedicated to serving credit unions. At his funeral we were joking that if you wanted to find him at NCUA start with the mailroom because he liked getting out and talking to people."
Swan graduated with an accounting degree and MBA from the University of Utah. The military veteran worked as an auditor for the US Army in California for two years. Always politically active, he served on Tooele City Council and was elected Mayor in 1969. Governor Scott Matheson appointed Swan as the deputy director of finance in 1977.
From 1983 to 1990 Swan served as CEO of Tooele Federal Credit Union and when former President George H. W. Bush appointed him to the NCUA Board he became the first CEO to serve on the board.
Serving from 1990-1996, Swan, who was Tooele Federal Credit Union CEO became known for listening to the "credit union side" on industry regulations.
During his time at NCUA, Swan had an impact on the merging of the industry insurance fund, regulatory issues surrounding field of membership including fending off bank attacks, and helping CDCUs gain easier access to the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
Swan is also known for suing President Bill Clinton in an attempt to maintain his seat.
On that Kerecman said, for Swan, it was more of an technical question on succession and the court decided not tot take up the matter so he lost by default and Yolanda Wheat took his place.
"He very much viewed his role as the credit union voice. He felt that one of the shortcomings with the agency and people who worked there that they had no credit union experience and he felt it was critical that someone inside the agency could look at an issue from an operations perspective," said Kerecman. "So he always viewed himself as a watchdog for the credit union's perspective because it is one thing to promulgate a regulation another for credit unions to be able to carry it out in their operations."
Kerecman says one of the hardest decisions Swan made was the vote over building an NCUA headquarters.
"It was a two person board of D'Amours and Swan for almost a year and Swan refused to allow a new building to move forward because he felt strongly that another existing facility could be renovated for headquarters," said Kerecman. "So he stalled construction until a third board member was brought in and Shirley [Bown?(C)] cast the vote to let it go through."
A long-time credit union advocate, upon leaving NCUA, Swan started his own credit union lobbying and consulting firm Swan Resources and Consulting Services and lobbied on several occasions for the Utah League of Credit Unions in the on-going battle in that state between credit unions and banks. He continued as a consultant lobbying for Utah credit unions and Tooele County up until his death.
"He had his consulting firm to the end and had a meeting with several credit union people the day before he passed away," said Kerecman. "Bob was loved by many and he enjoyed his life. When his wife mentioned since they married so late in life that they would never have a chance to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Bob started celebrating their anniversary every Friday the 13th so they would have their own 50th."
He is survived by his wife Jan, children and grandchildren.