SAN DIMAS, Calif. – "There's a time for everybody, and my time is now," said WesCorp President/CEO Dick Johnson who announced that he will retire later this year in what is his 25th with the corporate. Johnson has been a fixture at WesCorp since 1976, after having served 30 years in the Marine Corps. Ask him about his life, and he always goes back to the fortunate opportunity to have had two careers that he truly cares about. "The Marine Corps was wonderful for me. I met wonderful people. For one lifetime that would have been enough. Then to fall into a job like this was just terrific," said Johnson. Johnson credits former NAFCU President Ken Robinson for getting him into the industry. "We were both on active duty in San Diego. My tour was up and they were sending me back to Washington for the fourth time. Ken came and said there was a credit union job open at the Marine Corps Recruits Depot (CU)." Johnson managed Marine Corps Recruits Depot FCU, San Diego, for a little over four years before joining WesCorp as CEO, and the rest is history. The 78-year old Johnson admits that he hasn't had much leisure time in his life. "Sixty years and one month ago (at the age of 17) I was sworn into the Marine Corps. I had one weekend off between the end of my Marine career and the start of my credit union career, and not many since." What will he do with all his newfound free-time? That's a plan he's still working on. "I don't play golf. I am a scuba diver, and twice a year I go somewhere in the world where the water is warm. Maybe I can do that more." He does plan on lending his CU expertise if needed. "If there's a credit union somewhere that needs some help, I'll make myself available. I'm not going to vegetate." Don't look for him to slowdown while the WesCorp Board seeks out his replacement. In fact this interview was done with Johnson at the airport over a cell phone – he was headed to Chicago for an Association of Corporate Credit Unions' meeting. "I'll be here til June you know. You're still going to get a good days work out of me," he said. Physically, the demands of running the nation's largest corporate were getting tougher to deal with. "My body is kind of wearing down now. I have knee problems that give me fits. I can't move around like I used to," he said. "Let's get somebody in here who can run with the big dogs." The plan is for Johnson to stay on until the board finds a replacement. After that he will act as a special advisor and an emeritus official for WesCorp. Johnson said he will have no hand in who succeeds him. "It's really up to the board now. I don't know more than that," he said. Johnson says he was under no pressure from anyone to leave the corporate. It's a decision he seriously began to consider about a month ago. "There's no connection to the 25 years or anything else. There's just a time for everybody," he said. There are some ironies to his timing however. Not only was he just honored by the WesCorp staff for his silver anniversary with the corporate, but he was also recently named as the recipient of the Herb Wegner Lifetime Achievement award to be presented at next year's CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Johnson has held countless prominent positions in the credit union industry, and has received accolade after accolade (see sidebar for rundown), but his pride is grounded in the growth of WesCorp and of the corporate network. He joined WesCorp when its assets were just $70 million, and had three employees. It now has $17 billion in assets; 400 employees; a national FOM; serves CUs in 31 states; and has an unmatched $1 billion in capital. WesCorp is an investment innovator. It is the only corporate with all four expanded investment authorities under NCUA's Rules and Regulations and the only corporate designated as a "derivatives vendor" for CUs. "WesCorp is in good shape. We have the best staff around, though I'm obviously prejudiced. The board is great. This corporate has come a long way," said Johnson. He believes that the network is still in an evolutionary period, but that it's good for credit unions. "In the `70s we started thinking maybe we should be a regional corporate. I didn't think we'd go national at some point. Now we're national, and others are. It's just a natural evolution for corporates. Competition is good." Johnson does hope the network will be able to make a dent in the amount of investment dollars going outside of the network, which he estimates at about $50 billion. "That needs to be worked on." [email protected]

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