Caroline Willard Named New Cornerstone League CEO
Caroline Willard was named president/CEO of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, its board of directors for the nation’s largest regional state association said Thursday.
Willard will succeed Cornerstone President/CEO Richard L. Ensweiler who will retire at the end of April after more than 20 years of service at the Texas Credit Union League and the Cornerstone Credit Union League, which represents 546 cooperatives in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Cornerstone league has a 90% affiliation rate.
Willard currently serves as executive vice president of markets and strategy for CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
“Having spent the last 10 years at the nation's largest CUSO, it is an honor to be given the opportunity to serve credit unions at one of the largest leagues in the country,” Willard said in a league prepared statement. “This role will give me a chance to tap into what I have learned at both CO-OP Financial Services and at American First Credit Union, where I served on the executive team for five years.”
In addition to the league, Willard will be responsible for leading the organization’s Credit Union Resources, the league’s wholly owned for-profit subsidiary that provides industry solutions and expertise to credit unions across the nation, and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, the league’s charitable arm.
Willard’s vision includes positioning Cornerstone as an influencer at the national level to create better efficiencies in serving a changing credit union marketplace, according to the Cornerstone league’s prepared statement. In addition to ensuring that Cornerstone delivers relevant services to members and building the league’s legislative and grassroots advocacy, Willard also plans to assure the value proposition for Cornerstone and CUNA is clearly differentiated,.
“We are thrilled with the association and business prospects for Cornerstone and Credit Union Resources under Caroline’s leadership,” Kenny Harrington said, Cornerstone’s board chair and president/CEO of the $200 million MemberSource Credit Union in Houston.
Mike Kloiber, president/CEO of the $3.5 billion Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma City and board chair of Credit Union Resources, also said in the league’s prepared statement that he is “really excited about the thought leadership” Willard will bring to the league’s subsidiary as it explores “opportunities to benefit and grow the influence of credit unions in an evolving financial services landscape.”
Credit Union Resources posted $17.9 million in assets and share of total income of $403,133, in 2015, according to Cornerstone league’s 2015 IRS 990 form. In 2014, the subsidiary recorded assets of $17.1 million and share of total income of $395,028, and in 2013, Credit Union Resources had $12.5 million in assets and share of total income of $657,114 in total income, according to league’s 990 documents.
“We are very happy for Caroline as she embarks on this new phase in her career and extremely grateful for her leadership and the accomplishments she made during her tenure at CO-OP,” Todd Clark, President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, said in a prepared statement.
The search for Willard’s replacement has been initiated and her duties will be handled by Clark and Willard’s direct reports until her successor is appointed, according to CO-OP Financial Services statement.
CUNA also offered its “most sincere congratulations” to Willard and recognized Ensweiler for his contributions to the credit union industry over his 50-year career.
“Caroline’s deep experience in the credit union industry has perfectly prepared her for this vital role,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said in a prepared statement. “All of us at CUNA look forward to working closely with Caroline.”
“Dick Ensweiler has been as important to the success of credit unions over the last five decades as anyone,” Nussle said. “His leadership and vision have helped bring the credit union movement to the position of strength where we find ourselves today. I wish Dick and Judy the very best in the next stage of their life together. We appreciate all you have done, and we will miss you.”