CU 24's Jim Park to Step Down
Jim Park, founder of one of the nation’s two national credit union-owned ATM and point of sale networks, will step down from his position as president/CEO of Credit Union 24 at the end 2012. Mansel Guerry, former CEO of the 5,200-member $30 million Brightview Credit Union in Ridgeland, Miss., will take the helm as president/CEO.
“Jim Park is the reason that Credit Union 24 exists today, and our entire industry owes him a debt of gratitude for his career-long contributions, bringing the network’s unique EFT business model to fruition and helping credit unions succeed in a challenging marketplace,” said Bradley Blake, chairman of the board at Credit Union 24 and president/CEO of Florida State FCU in Tallahassee.
“Our board of directors has always embraced Jim Park’s dedication to the spirit of cooperation and the credit union movement, and it is because of this foundation that the network has been successful. As our network continues to grow and evolve with the industry under Mansel Guerry’s leadership, we will remain true to this foundation and overarching philosophy,” Blake added.
“I am humbled by the credit unions that offered me the opportunity to pursue my dream 30 years ago, and I am proud of the journey that our network has taken,” said Park. “I am also very fulfilled by the fact that I chose serving credit unions and credit union members to be my career. Looking back, I see that leading the Credit Union 24 network was what I was fated to do. Similarly, Mansel Guerry’s dedication to the credit union movement and cooperative philosophy will ensure that the board’s vision remains as the network’s foundation. I believe the board made the best decision in securing Mr. Guerry as our network’s future leader.”
Guerry has served on the staff of Credit Union 24 since January as executive vice president of administration and has been involved with the organization’s board in different capacities, serving as chairman since 1998.
“Guerry brings a unique variety of experience to the Credit Union 24 leadership team, and it was this experience, combined with his collaborative philosophy and engaging leadership style, that set him apart,” said Blake. “We are confident that Mansel will build upon Credit Union 24’s current foundation and structure and take our network, our participants and our industry partners to new levels of success.”
Park began his career working with ATMs and ATM networking in the mid-1970s, before they had become a member service standard and were only believed to be an outgrowth of marketing. He then worked in marketing for Jax Navy Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, Fla., where he gained a greater understanding of ATMs from a representative from Diebold.
“I think it said something that the Diebold representative would have been sent to me, in marketing,” Park said. “Back then there were no ATM or EFT departments. No one had seen these things or knew what they could do, so they sent him to me because part of my job was promoting the credit union and credit union services to their members.”
Park reported being intrigued by ATMs, which, in its early days, still presented as many problems for credit unions as it did opportunities. The machines were expensive and only served the members of the one credit union. Furthermore, since they were expensive and could not be afforded in many places, they didn’t have the geographic reach they really needed to be useful.
But, by the late 1970s, Florida credit unions, each with one ATM, decided to try linking their ATMs in a network and offer all of them to their members. By doing so, they could quadruple the impact of their machines at only a quarter of the price. Given his interest in ATMs, Park set out to help them, an effort he recalled as a particular challenge.
“This was the very first ATM network, at least in our part of the country, and we had to even find a firm who could devise a switch we could use to switch the transactions,” Park said. “That’s how new it all was then.”
The ATM networking idea became popular enough that the Florida Credit Union League got involved and, in 1982, founded Florida Credit Union Shared Services, the ATM network which eventually became Credit Union 24 in 1998.
Mansel Guerry served as president/CEO of Brightview Credit Union in Ridgeland, Miss. for almost ten years. Credit Union 24 said Guerry “transformed the limited-service, limited-scope credit union into a full-service, multi-employee and multi-branch institution.”
Guerry declined to lay out specific plans for what direction Credit Union 24 might take in the future, but said he intended to continue the organization’s tradition of listening to members about the areas the network might work on to help expand their services.