With his son recently heading off to college, Kyle Markland made the decision to resign from Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union on Wednesday to “take a step back and see what he wants to do now.”
Markland, president/CEO of the $1.6 billion Affinity Plus in St. Paul, Minn., stepped down from the president/CEO post after 16 years of service.
David Larson, who was named interim president/CEO by the board, told Credit Union Times Friday morning that Markland sent a letter out to the credit union’s employees on Wednesday expressing his reasons for resigning.
“He talked about what he plans to do in the future,” Larson said. “His son Andrew just went off to college. Both of his kids are now in college. For the first time, Kyle and his wife will be empty nesters. He said he wanted to take some time, step back and take a sabbatical.”
Larson said Markland’s letter to employees, which was sent within a letter from Affinity Plus’s Board Chairperson Connie Roehrich, was only meant for the credit union’s employees and would not be released externally.
Attempts to reach Markland have so far been unsuccessful.
Larson acknowledged he was caught off guard when he heard that Markland would be resigning.
“Yes, I was surprised to hear that Kyle was leaving. I’ve worked with him for 12 years.”
With his unexpected, new role, Larson said he is ready to take on the interim position.
“I’ve been a senior vice president since 2007 and I’ve had a lot of exposure within our organization,” Larson said. “There’s a great rapport with the leadership team.”
Larson said Affinity Plus will do a national search as well as look internally within the credit union’s ranks. The board is hoping to have the search completed by the end of the year or early 2014 but that deadline is not set in stone, he added.
“We are a credit union in the truest sense of those words. Our members will not see anything different” as a result of the leadership change.
Markland was 33 years old when he took the helm of Affinity Plus in December 1997. When Credit Union Times interviewed him last year upon receiving the publication’s 2012 Trailblazer CEO of the Year award, he said the board took a chance on hiring someone so young of what was then a $357 million financial institution.
During his tenure, membership grew from 70,000 to more than 167,000 members and assets hit $2.8 billion as of March 2012. He was a staunch critic of the Durbin Amendment that capped fees on most debit card swipes and voiced his concerns in a comment letter to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
Markland touted the credit union’s strong loan programs including mortgages which topped the $725 million mark in 2011 at a time when other credit unions were struggling to build their portfolios, he said last year.
Affinity’s Plus “Ditch Your Bank” campaign started well before Bank Transfer Day in November 2011, he noted. The campaign continues to this date, according to the credit union’s website.
Meanwhile, this is the second senior management resignation from Affinity Plus in recent weeks. Liz Hayes, chief administrative officer, gave her notice on July 17 and resigned at the end of July.
Hayes had served at the credit union for 15 years. She told a local publication that she wanted to focus on her master’s thesis and spend time with her daughter, who was planning to attend college overseas this year.
Larson said the resignation of Hayes and Markland are not related.