As an image booster to the industry described by CEOs as “truly exhilarating,” defense credit unions and their CEOs got some high visibility in New York’s Times Square by serving as the bell openers for the NASDAQ stock exchange.
The Wednesday event, marked by hundreds of CEOs and staffers from defense CUs taking part and shown on huge jumbotron screens, coincided with the windup of the Defense Credit Union Council annual conference in New York.
“It’s really heartening to know how we could get that kind of exposure in a place where 9 million can receive and notice the credit union message,” said Gordon Simmons, president/CEO of the $1.9 billion Service CU in Portsmouth, N.H., referring to New Yorkers on nearby streets watching the broadcast images and hearing the remarks of CU leaders on the big screens.
The chairman of the DCUC, Frank Padak, told the crowds, “It is indeed an honor and a privilege to stand before you and open today’s NASDAQ on behalf of the Defense Credit Union Council and its member credit unions, whose daily support of the greatest Americans of all, our troops and their families – is genuinely without equal.”
Padak, who also is president/CEO of the $755 million Scott CU in Collinsville, Ill, said the DCUC motto of “serving those who serve our country” represents part of the CU culture.
“We are proud to be an integral part of the Department of Defense family and equally committed to promoting the morale, welfare, and financial readiness of our armed forces,” Padak said during the 10-minute NASDAQ ceremony.
Many of the CU executives and conference delegates attending the conference were invited to tour the NASDAQ facility with many hearing the speech in a studio near the trading floor.
DCUC officials said the event had been planned four or five months ahead “and there was always this possibility we might get bumped if a NASDAQ member wants to do the pre-opening ceremony,” Simmons said. “We were lucky we were able to get on.”
Conveniently, DCUC was holding its annual conference in the Marriott Marquis close by the NASDAQ offices on Broadway “making it easy for delegates on the last day to walk over.”
The regular speech making was canned for the day to arrange for the NASDAQ ceremony, the council said, adding it also recorded its largest attendance ever – 450 – for the three-day conclave.