Robert C. Marinace, one of the founding members of Save TCU, the group whose active opposition led to the scuttling of Technology Credit Union’s plan to convert to a bank, has died.
He was 84 and died on Sunday, Oct. 14, members of the organization said.
Marinace, a retired engineer, had been a member of the $1.6 billion Technology for many years and sought more information about the conversion proposal after the credit union's leadership announced they were contemplating it.
His consideration of the information they provided led him to oppose it, at first privately and then steadily more publicly.
The other founder of the group, Carlos Rodriguez, remembered Marinace's methodical way of thinking and credited him for naming the member group.
“Bob was an engineer by training,” Rodriguez said. “He could methodically take apart an issue, examine each part, then re-assemble it with a better understanding of how it works. That's how he approached the conversion.
“He met with Tech CU's senior staff when the credit union first announced its plans late last year, then proceeded to research the issue until he was convinced it was a bad idea. It is that conviction, that newly gained level of knowledge, which allowed him to put together an email that convinced his fellow members that conversion was a bad idea. He named the rising movement Save TCU.”
Rodriguez recalled that the day before he entered the hospital, Marinace had called to ask about his family and to share some ideas for how the group could work with former board members to get the credit union back on track.
“Bob was a peacemaker as much as he was a warrior,” Rodriguez added. “He recognized that the credit union had been good to him, and he wanted to make sure this quality of caring would never change.”
Marinace and Rodriguez were two of the three Technology members who sent emails to other members about the conversion, using a procedure the NCUA established to facilitate such communication.
“As a retiree, it would be so simple for me to not care about our credit union and let it become just another bank,” Marinace wrote in his email. “But we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Technology Credit Union over the years in helping us achieve our comfortable retirement.
“No bank could ever have done that for us. This is our way of paying our credit union back. I’m asking you to remember why you chose to join a credit union instead of a bank and to vote no on this conversion when you receive your ballot in the mail in August and to attend the meeting in September.”
Technology Credit Union members voted overwhelmingly to remain a credit union.
A formal obituary was not yet available.