Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

SACRAMENTO – Some 1,100 applicants later, Teresa Halleck emerged as the choice to lead the $4 billion The Golden 1 CU. With 1,100 applicants, the top job at The Golden 1 CU was obviously coveted by many. Halleck herself already leads a billion dollar CU as the CEO of the $1.2 billion State Employees CU of Maryland. “I’ve always respected the name. I’ve always thought very highly of The Golden 1. There’s a tremendous amount of leadership out there,” said Halleck. According to Manuel Mateo, chairman of The Golden 1, the board narrowed the number of applicants down to 14. Of those 14, 12 were credit union CEOs; one was a bank CEO; and one was an executive at a national credit union trade association. The CU used D. Hilton Associates to conduct the executive search. He said applicants came from many different industries. “It was a long process. We looked at about 25 of the top 30 applicants and interviewed 14. We were looking for several things. One of the most important was leadership qualities. We were looking for someone who could come into the credit union and review the current operations and make sure we’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Mateo. The board had a three-director committee heading up the search process. Mateo and two of the CU’s EVPs have been running the day-to-day operations of the CU since Hollen left, which has been a learning experience to say the least, said Mateo. “It was an experience I’ll be forever grateful I had. I learned a lot about the operations of the credit union, the products and the members. I don’t think someone on the board should be the CEO. You can’t have both jobs. I want to go back to being retired,” he said. Mateo said though he understands operations better, Halleck has to lead the way she sees fit. “The CEO has to make her own decisions. It’s going to be her team. The board is the overseer.” Halleck will start on or before Oct. 15. For Halleck it means switching coasts. “I know I’m going to love it. I’ve been out there a lot,” she said. She will be moving with her husband, her 22-year old son and four dogs. Halleck has three rescued greyhounds and a border terrier. She served as the treasurer for a rescue group for greyhounds. “I’m driving my dogs across country with me. I don’t want to take a chance flying them. That’s how important they are to me,” she said. Aside from the state itself, Halleck said she’s happy to be going to a state that has a regulator that is very understanding of CU needs. “I’ll be very, very fortunate to have a regulator that is so supportive of the industry. I love the regulator we have here, but the climate in Maryland is just not the same,” she said. As for comparing the CU she is leading now and the one she will soon lead, she says there are some similarities. Both CUs are state-chartered and can serve state employees statewide. State employees make up about a third of State Employees CU’s membership, with the other two-thirds made up of people attending the state’s colleges; people from its several hundred SEGs; and of course family members of all its groups. Aside from its state employee members, The Golden 1 also has community charters in 22 California counties, which gives it a very broad reach. The Golden 1 CU is a little bit more branch heavy at 64 branches compared to 12 for State Employees. However that’s not as big a difference as it may seem given the much larger area The Golden 1 covers. Both CUs are heavy into technology with things like online lending, Net banking, bill pay, and other technologies already well-established. “I’d love to have more branches here, but we don’t really need a lot of them because of our technological delivery system,” said Halleck. Another similarity is indirect lending, though The Golden 1 CU was the pioneer out West and is much deeper into it than State Employees. Halleck says she is very proud of the shape she is leaving State Employees in. “This credit union has transformed in six years. There were some financial challenges six years ago primarily due to loan losses. We used to be predominantly in unsecured loans. We’ve reversed that to secured loans,” said Halleck. Of the CU’s $742 million loan portfolio, $600 million of it is in secured loans. Halleck is also a CPA, which she admitted she’s “not so sure is a good thing” these days. Though CUs have been unscathed by the accounting scandals like Enron, she said CUs should be concerned about the perception of the firm doing their annual audit. “I think given the climate out there you have to pay a lot more attention to who you select because a perception goes along with that firm. You may be working with an office in a city that’s great, but you don’t want the membership to have a bad perception about the firm itself,” she said. Halleck has been at State Employees for nine years, coming in as CFO and serving as CEO for six of those years. Prior to State Employees CU, Halleck served as Assistant Dean for Operations and Finance, at the University of Maryland at College Park; and before that as CFO/SVP and Controller for Maryland Federal Bancorp. She enjoyed her banking experience and didn’t find it much difference than working for a credit union. “In my mind it’s not very different because at the bank you have shareholders, and at a credit union you have members. The shareholders are now the members. You’re still working to enhance value. The basics are the same,” she said. As for the biggest challenge facing credit unions, Halleck said it’s dealing with competition from nontraditional competitors such as Wal-Mart. “They’re trying to encroach on our financial services turf.” Although already in that billion dollar group, it’s worth noting that Halleck is now one of four women leading billion dollar CEOs. The others are Patsy Van Ouwerkerk at Travis CU; Susan Frank at Desert Schools; and Mary Madden at Hudson Valley FCU (see sidebar). Halleck said she doesn’t give too much thought to being a woman when it comes to running a billion dollar CU. “Unless somebody points it out to me, I don’t think about it. I don’t think of myself being any different. Everybody is trying to do the best job for their credit union.” There’s still yet another billion dollar CU job open. The top spot at United Airlines Employees CU is vacant after the resignation of Bob Bream, who joined Certegy as head of its North American operations. [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited CUTimes.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times
Live Chat

Copyright © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.