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LANSING, Mich. – How many people wind up working in professions they earned degrees in? For the first few years after he graduated Wayne State University Law School with a law degree, Gary Mielock worked as a trust officer at Manufacturers National Bank of Detroit. For the last 26 years, he worked in various positions at the Financial Institutions Bureau, including service as Chief Deputy Commissioner, Acting Commissioner, and most recently as Special Advisor to the Commissioner of the Office of Financial and Insurance Services, a successor agency to the FIB. Now Mielock is spending his days working at what he earned his degree in. The veteran state banking regulator joined the firm of Bodman, Longley & Dahling LLP, Detroit, on June 4 as a practicing attorney. Among the law firm’s list of clients, it represents a number of credit unions on regulatory issues and complex litigation cases. Mielock is specializing in banking law and bank regulatory issues. In hindsight, if the then-Financial Institutions Bureau had not been located in Lansing, Mielock might never have joined the agency as a trust specialist. “I was always interested in moving to Lansing. I made inquiries and found out the FIB was looking for someone with trust experience to work as their trust specialist. I applied, interviewed, and was offered the position,” said Mielock. That’s it, nothing fancy or eventful. But Mielock’s next 26 years at the agency would prove to be anything but uneventful. “Some people say it’s a bad habit of mine, but I have a tendency to stick my nose into things, I nose around,” Mielock told Credit Union Times. That habit-good or bad-helped Mielock learn a lot about regulatory issues. As time went on and people either left the agency or moved onto other positions, Mielock stepped in, applied and filled the vacancies. In 1981, he was named Director of the Office of Regulation where he was responsible for overseeing the regulation of depository institutions in the state, including the credit union division and the bank and trust division. It was Mielock’s first exposure to credit unions. “The story was that after a period of time, a lot of people came to me with questions. I tended to answer their questions with my own questions. In that way everyone learned,” said Mielock. What did Mielock learn? For one thing, he said, he learned there’s a big distinction in the working philosophy and operating habits between credit unions and banks. “Working with the corresponding federal regulator for each institution, I learned not only that there are differences between state and federal laws and regulations, but also that there are differences between the way federal regulators and state regulators go about their business,” Mielock said. Beyond the differences though between credit unions and banks, Mielock stressed that, “Universally, every state that deals with depository institutions and every regulator is concerned with the safety and soundness of those institutions. That’s most important.” That’s something Mielock said he always kept in mind as he worked for a combined agency responsible for the regulation of otherwise competing financials – credit unions, banks and thrifts. His vantage point from the seat of the chairs of acting chief deputy commissioner, acting commissioner and then chief deputy commissioner-all positions Mielock held by the time he left the regulator’s office-gave Mielock the opportunity to see how regulatory decisions he had to make for one group of financials might impact another. “I always had the outlook of not getting involved in the philosophical differences between the financials. I focused on what was the best way to make available to the consumers of Michigan the products and services they need. As long as the financial was able to provide that to the consumers in a safe and sound manner, I made decisions that gave them the authority to do so.” In 1989, Michigan became the first state to be accredited by NASCUS. It was reaccredited in 1999. The designation signifies that the NASCUS Accreditation Review Team, the Accreditation Audit Committee, and the Performance Standards Committee have concluded that Michigan’s Financial Institution Bureau’s Credit Union Division continues to meet the criteria necessary to fulfill its statutory responsibilities to charter, examine, supervise and regulate state-chartered credit unions in Michigan. It was Mielock’s work attitude and his contributions to Michigan’s state-chartered credit union system that contributed toward him being named the 2001 recipient of the NASCUS Pierre Jay Award. He received the award at last year’s NASCUS conference in September. According to NASCUS, the award was created by the association “to be given to those who have surpassed reasonable expectations. It is given to those whose contributions have benefited the state credit union system in a profound way. It is given to a person or organization who best demonstrates outstanding service, leadership or commitment to NASCUS and the dual chartering system, but who also demonstrates extraordinary effort which benefits NASCUS or dual chartering.” In addition to supervising the regulation of banks, credit unions, savings and loans, and not-depository institutions including mortgage brokers and lenders in Michigan, Mielock has served as NASCUS chairman and a member of the NASCUS Board of Directors. Dennis Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League said this about Mielock: “Gary has made significant contributions to fostering the position and continuing a working relationship with the Michigan credit union movement. During his tenure at FIB, he’s been a person credit union people could count on for being a straight shooter. Gary has been fair and direct and credible in working with us and representing FIB. As a regulator responsible for credit unions, banks and thrifts, he has been objective while, considering the differences between the financials he regulated, working to maintain their safety and soundness.” Mielock is more modest with his accomplishments while he worked at DFI. “There were no lighthouse type of changes,” he said. He did have the opportunity though to witness the evolution of the agency. “It went from being a bean counter, looking at things like whether the cash was in the vault and if securities were properly segregated, to being more of a risk manager, looking at institutions from the top down and relying on boards and directors to implement policies that would allow the financial to operate in a safe and sound manner,” Mielock said. The regulatory agency is also more involved with legislative issues than it used to be. Not only does it often draft legislation, it is also occasionally called on to be a mediator between financials and to help them find a common ground to help move legislation through. Mielock quips that he’s come full circle. “I first earned my law degree and began my working career with a bank. Now I’m practicing law and focusing on banking regulatory issues.” Gary’s departure from the department will be noticed by the entire credit union community,” said NASCUS President Doug Duerr. “NASCUS is certain he will be as successful as an attorney as he was as a regulator.” -

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