Gary Jones, the former president/CEO of a since-merged Tulsa, Okla. credit union, is the new head of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma.
Jones, who was head of Wilserv CU prior to its 2007 merger into Oklahoma Central CU, has been serving as interim CEO of the state trade group since last July.
Jones, who joined the league in 2007 as consultant and field rep, said he looks now to broaden and enhance association services in such areas as compliance and advocacy during "what remains a challenging time for this industry."
Jones succeeds Debra J. Ingram, the group's top manager since 2008 who left abruptly in a management shakeup. Ingram, an attorney, had been with the 74-member league since 2006 and helped guide a headquarters relocation from Tulsa to Oklahoma City last year and the opening of a Credit Union House near the capitol building.
The new CUAO top manager said the trade group will continue to look for economies of scale as it outsources both products and services with neighboring leagues.
It maintains a management contract on back office services with the Texas Credit Union League and currently has another with the Missouri Credit Union Association. Since last year, the Oklahoma and Missouri leagues have conducted joint annual meetings, with the 2010 event held last week in Branson, Mo.
Jones, in making his debut appearance as CEO at the Branson gathering, was to join another newly appointed CEO, Michael Beall, former head of the Maryland/DC Credit Union Association. Beall is slated to start work at the Missouri Credit Union Association on Nov. 1.
In managing the Oklahoma group, Jones said he is cognizant of the merger trend among state leagues and CUAO leadership will continue to study current business models. Last year the Florida and Alabama leagues organized the League of Southeastern Credit Unions while Washington and Oregon groups are planning to merge next year.
At CUAO, Jones said he is receiving great personal satisfaction in running the group, describing it as "fun and rewarding."And he stressed again that collaboration among state leagues and national groups is important given the current economic climate.
Moreover, "regional is not a dirty word" in Oklahoma, he concluded.