The National Credit Union Foundation on Wednesday said that Gary Oakland, retired president/CEO of the $11.5 billion BECU in Seattle, has been named the third winner of its 2014 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Oakland and the other winners will be feted at the NCUA’s annual awards dinner on Feb. 24 during the GAC at the Grand Hyatt Washington in the nation’s capital.
The NCUF said this is the first time it’s chosen three winners in one year for the lifetime achievement award.
“Gary is a slam dunk as a choice to bestow the Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award,” John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and president of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis.
“Gary’s contributions to the credit union movement were so obvious as everything he touches turns to success for the average American consumer. It’s evident in the growth of BECU, the state supervision system, dual credit union chartering, Biz Kid$, NCUF, and much more. It’s also an honor to see Gary receiving the award rather than giving one,” Gregoire said in the NCUF announcement.
The foundation cited his support of the credit union movement through CUNA, the former Washington Credit Union League, NASCUS, the Filene Research Institute and the NCUF.
Under Oakland’s leadership, BECU also helped more than a dozen low-income credit unions across the country, the NCUF said, “often single-handedly locating the funds to keep his fellow members-first organizations afloat in times of hardship,” and playing a key role in the creation of two of them, as well as Prime Alliance, the mortgage servicer for credit unions that is now Mortgage Cadence.
The foundation also noted that BECU grew from 108,000 members when he took on the position of CEO in 1986 to more than 775,000 members, and a spot as the nation's fourth-largest credit union, when he stepped down last year and was succeeded by Benson Porter from First Tech FCU.