"For me it's the right time, for CUNA it's the right time,'' he told Credit Union Times. "I had actually decided in January and told the board leadership then, but with the corporate credit union situation we agreed I should delay the announcement to keep our strength during the subsequent months.''
The efforts of CUNA, NAFCU and NCUA to persuade Congress to create a temporary stabilization fund for corporate credit unions was one of the most important legislative efforts of Mica's tenure. Other key initiatives included 1998 passage of H.R. 1151, which reversed a U.S. Supreme Court decision and gave credit unions broad authority to expand their membership and recent efforts to minimize some of the adverse effects of the credit card reform legislation on credit unions.
As a former member of Congress-he was a Democratic congressman from Florida for 10 years-he raised CUNA's visibility on Capitol Hill. During a hearing last year, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said "please convey to Dan Mica, my good friend and former colleague, that we would never abolish credit unions.''
Mica also faced challenges in running CUNA, which he has done since 1996 and was the organization's longest serving president. The recession took its toll on the organization and CUNA has had to lay off 26 employees this year and instituted mandatory five-day furloughs.
"Dealing with those things wasn't pleasant but we took steps to ensure CUNA's long term financial health,'' he said.
Mica, 65, said he will continue working after leaving CUNA.
"I am too young to retire. I am a bit nervous about what will happen next, but I will look at all opportunities, including consulting and volunteering.''
NCUA Chairman Kris Meacham said the board will form a search committee and begin interviewing executive search firms to help with the process of recruiting a successor to Mica.
"His name will be mentioned among the great leaders of the credit union movement. He increased CUNA's clout on Capitol Hill and he has a personal set of ethical and moral standards that are second to none,'' Meacham said of Mica.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker, a sometime ally and sometime rival of Mica's said in a statement that Mica has "been a very committed advocate of the credit union industry'' and "has been a respected and accomplished colleague.''
Before joining CUNA, Mica was an executive vice president of the American Council of Life Insurance after serving in Congress. He left Congress after losing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 1988.
CUNA Chief Operating Officer Richard McBride, a longtime associate of Mica, is also leaving.