Richard “Doc” Heins, former CUNA Mutual Insurance Group president/CEO, has died at the age of 85.
Heins – a 2010 recipient of the Herb Wegner Memorial Award in 2010 for his service to the credit union industry – retired from CUNA Mutual in 1995 after having joined the company as a consultant in 1956.
He was a Platteville, Wis., native who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with a PhD and law degree from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at UCLA for four years before taking a faculty position at his alma mater and forging his career in the credit union industry.
Heins is survived by his wife, Ruth, along with four daughters and 10 grandchildren. His complete obituary is online
Plaudits poured in after news of his death, according to CUNA News Now.
"Doc was one of those rare individuals that possessed incredible creativity combined with a passion to collaborate," said Jeff Post, CUNA Mutual president/CEO.
"Doc Heins was an icon for the credit union movement and for the CUNA/league system. In a very real way, he charted the course for the partnership between CUNA and CUNA Mutual that serves all credit unions so well to this day,” said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.
Innovations attributed to Heins by Susan Newton, executive director of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues, included creating a program allowing credit unions to write loans for as little as 5% down; expanding the delivery of direct-response products including life insurance, pioneering applying age and health factors to insurance risk ratings, support of an independent federal regulator and insurer for credit unions; supporting creation of the Filene Research Institute (and later the i3 group); and encouragement for rebuilding credit unions in Poland after the fall of communism there.
"Doc was ceaseless in his devotion to credit unions and cooperatives worldwide; his legacy is stronger credit unions here in America, and a surging cooperative movement around the globe," Newton said.
CO-OP Financial Services President/CEO Stan Hollen said Heins was an inspiration to many over the years and pointed to his creation of the CEO Dialogue Group and Members Development Council.
"I still have the rocking chair he had delivered to my home that each council member received,” Hollen told News Now.
“Doc was most comfortable in front of a group with an easel and marker to sketch out his ideas. His leadership in combining with Century Companies in Iowa set the stage for the future of CUNA Mutual. He will be missed but not forgotten,” Hollen said.
Heins’ funeral will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. CDT in Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 1701 McKenna Blvd. in Madison, Wis.