<p>RICHARDSON, Texas – After working 15 years in accounting and finance at Texas Instruments, James L. Bryan thought a position at his company’s credit union would offer him a diversion until something more interesting opened up at TI. That was some 28 years ago, and Jim will soon retire from his “diversion” as President and CEO of the $1.1 billion Texans Credit Union. A Fort Worth native and graduate of Southern Methodist University, Jim signed on in 1974 as Vice President of Branch Operations with what was then Texins CU. Two years later, Jim took the helm as president. His tenure at the credit union has been marked with growth in membership and expansion of services. Under his direction, Texins added checking products, credit cards, certificates of deposit, and ATMs in the 1970s. During the 1980s, the credit union expanded its full-time branch operations to 16 and added member self-service terminals on TI factory floors. In 1987, the credit union relocated its Dallas headquarters to its present nine-story building in Richardson, in the Dallas suburb’s high-tech Telecom Corridor. During the early 1990s, Texins began adding select employee groups to its membership. Prior to expanding the original field of membership, the credit union had 85,000 members. Today, the credit union boasts 145,000 members through a combination of 300 SEGs, professional organizations and communities. Most of the credit union’s branches are inside sponsor companies, but they have six community branches. To meet the needs of its technologically savvy members, the credit union launched a stream of electronic services, including Internet banking. EDS recognized Texins CU as the first financial institution in the U.S. to offer coast-to-coast wireless Internet banking using Palm VII PDAs or Internet-equipped cell phones. “In 1998, we made a major move by splitting from Texas Instruments to become our own employee group. We now have our own benefits package, our own HR department, our own personnel policies, etc.,” Jim said. “This gave us more flexibility to determine our own destiny, but we’ve continued to keep an excellent relationship with TI.” The credit union then changed its name from Texins to Texans to appeal to its broader field of membership. “People didn’t understand (that Texins was an abbreviated contraction of Texas Instruments), they just thought we didn’t know how to spell. So we changed the `i’ to `a’. Our marketing department thought we ought to call it a vowel movement,” Jim joked, “but we didn’t think the public would accept that.” More recently, the credit union has opened a call center for 24- hour lending services and their CUSO, Texans Financial, for member investment services. (see related story page 16) “We are not into commercial lending, but we’re looking at it as a potential service for small employee groups,” Jim said. The credit union topped $1 billion in assets in February 2001, twenty-fold growth under Jim’s leadership. Texans CU is 47rd largest in the United States and 5th largest in Texas. Texans CU member John McCormack, one of the original 11 founders to contribute $5 to charter the credit union in 1953, put in the $5 that pushed Texans over the $1 billion mark. Jim has mixed emotions over the changes he’s seen during his association with the credit union movement. “I’ve seen the number of credit unions dwindle down from 22,000 to just over 10,000 in my 27-28 years. I think we’ll continue to see the trend in consolidation, the trend toward more mergers and community charters. Economies of scale will be better, as long as we continue to grow members, too,” he said. “Unfortunately, the larger credit unions become, you tend to lose a little bit of that credit union feeling. You still have the philosophy, you still have the structure, but it’s hard to know 145,000 members by their first names. In the old days, you knew all your members. It’s not like being the credit union down the hall anymore. Is that bad? Not in itself. Things have to change, things have to evolve if you’re going to grow and meet member needs, but we have to ensure that we don’t lose the credit union philosophy and the principles of financial cooperatives.” Bryan is retiring in July 2003 at 65 years old, but will probably continue to sit on credit union-related boards for a few years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for CUNA Mutual Group and as a director on the board of credit union-owned Town North National Bank. He is a past Chairman of the Board for the Texas Credit Union League and Southwest Corporate FCU and a former director on CUNA’s Board. “Working and serving on boards has filled most of my spare time. When I retire I’ll have to take up some new interests,” he laughed. Jim and his wife, Nancy, have a lake house in east Texas, where he says he would like to fish with his two grandsons, Patrick and Cole, and play a little golf. Why has Jim’s job at the credit union lasted longer than a typical diversion? “I’ve met people all over the U.S. with this job, and I think I could pick up the phone in any state and call a credit union friend.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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