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<p>POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Joining an ever-growing list of women president/CEOs who are leading billion dollar-asset credit unions, Mary Madden recently became the fifth to do so when she was named to take the helm at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Madden, 40, a 15-year credit union veteran, officially took the post May 8 but has been in `acting’ president/CEO mode since September 2001 after her predecessor, Chuck Cockburn took the same position at Seattle Telco Credit Union. While Hudson’s board of directors conducted a national search, interviewed several candidates including herself over the last eight months, Madden juggled her interim role with her responsibilities as senior vice president. The first few months saw Madden in the midst of planning HVFCU’s annual conference, a board and management retreat and completing the budget, but the transition from there to now has been “relatively smooth.” Indeed, crediting a strong board and management team, HVFCU boasts 121,000 members and $1.4 billion in assets. “It’s a tremendous honor and I’m extremely excited because we have a board that works together with management and staff as an adhesive team,” Madden said. She downplays the notion of being one of only a handful of women credit union CEOs, saying she’s proud that the board of directors didn’t consider her gender but went “strictly on qualifications” and selecting the person who would make the best fit. HVFCU was originally established as IBM Poughkeepsie Federal Credit Union in 1963, starting with 14 members and $172 in assets. Employees of other organizations became eligible to join in 1993, and today, the credit union serves employees and their families of more than 550 Hudson Valley businesses and organizations. Prior to entering the credit union industry, Madden earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism at Indiana University at Bloomington and later an MBA at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Her professional career began at a start-up company in the marketing department. Years later, she became the marketing director at Digital Employees Credit Union in Maynard, Mass., and over the next four years, worked her way up to senior vice president in charge of operations. There she managed human resources, lending, branches, and information technology, among other departments. When Digital’s president/CEO Chuck Cockburn left the credit union in 1994 to head HVFCU, he wanted to bring three of his top-notch senior executives of which Madden was one, to help run the operations department. “She was instrumental in changing a unique computer system to Ultradata,” Cockburn recalled. “It was a difficult conversion, but Mary did a good job making the transition.” Cockburn said Madden was also instrumental in upgrading HVFCU’s branches and moving some centers into optimum sales cultures. “She’s an excellent communicator, organizes her thoughts very well, and she’ll be real successful,” Cockburn emphasized. When Madden arrived at HVFCU, the strategic plan was to continue to grow by offering a vast array of services and products. Madden said the strategic plans calls for continued growth through a variety of outlets including competitive dividend rates, an expanded branch network and delivery channels. A more detailed analysis on the decision to offer business loans and accounts will also be researched, Madden said. More importantly, HVFCU wants to build and maintain its relationship with members through their entire life cycles. “We’re talking from college graduate to retirement,” Madden said. “This is where the growth obviously comes from.” It’s that type of big-picture thinking that has propelled HVFCU to the billion-dollar ranks and Madden is poised to continue that stream, said Tony Rohrmeier, HVFCU’s vice president of information technology. “She’s constantly in situations where decisions have to be made quickly but naturally, they are very well-thought out decisions,” said Rohrmeier who has worked with Madden for the last seven years. “She has the foresight to see where she thinks the credit union needs to go in the future.” Madden credits Cockburn for his “uncanny ability to strategically plan.” “That’s probably one of things he has taught me – how to improve on strategic and individual plans,” she said. “He’s been a tremendous influence and mentor and I not only value his professional advice but he’s been a friend for several years.” With 460 employees, Madden is a strong believer in professional development, said Betty Moran, HVFCU’s senior vice president of finance, who has worked with Madden for 15 years. “She makes sure the opportunities are there and encourages us to be very active learners,” Moran said. “She’s a good sounding board and very open to ideas” Madden said “a lot of great things are in store” for the credit union and it all starts with cohesion among the board, management and staff. “We have to work as a team in order to be successful and continue to grow,” she emphasized. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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