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<p>ROCHESTER, N.Y. – John J. Bryson, 67, who served as president/CEO of The Summit FCU here for 24 years, died on April 12. Bryson took over the credit union in 1971 when it had just $4 million in assets, growing it to $150 million by the time he left in 1995. Originally known as the Rochester Telephone Employees CU, Bryson persuaded NCUA, even before it had adjusted its FOM rules, to allow multiple common bonds. This allowed his CU to take in employees of Rochester Gas & Electric and Rochester Telephone because they had a common bond in the utility poles they both worked on. He later persuaded the CU’s board to change the name to The Summit to help attract new, non-telephone groups. Mike Vadala, the current CEO of The Summit FCU and a longtime admirer of Bryson, said Bryson was ahead of his time. “John realized that with diversity, we would be more apt to weather isolated economic difficulties in our member companies. The income levels of the group members never entered into it. John just wanted to bring credit union service to more people. Over the years this strategy has played out very true to John’s vision,” said Vadala. Vadala said Bryson’s belief in expanded FOM’s made him a bit of a maverick in the industry. “Once, when he was speaking about expanded charters at a local credit union meeting, he was booed off the stage. He felt an incredible degree of satisfaction in 1997 when the Credit Union Membership Access Act became law,” said Vadala.</p>

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