SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The credit union industry has lost one of its true great leaders in W.B. (Ben) Hawkins, a longtime CEO of Teachers Credit Union. Hawkins, 80, served as president/CEO and treasurer of TCU from 1962 to 1987, and was a member of the board at the time of his death. When Hawkins first came to TCU it had less than $4 million in assets – when he retired assets were more than $400 million. Today TCU is one of the nation’s largest CUs with $1.1 billion in assets, serving some 160,000 members. During his tenure, TCU transformed from plain vanilla, offering just savings and loans, to a multi-faceted, member-oriented CU. He helped spearhead the introduction of share drafts (the third CU in the nation to offer them); a Visa credit card, CDs, IRAs; and a second mortgage program. “Part of the fabric of the credit union is now gone, but his memory will always live on. I am thankful for not only having the privilege of knowing him, but also learning from him, not only about credit unions, but about people and life. He was my mentor,” said current TCU President/CEO Rick Rice. Credit unions run in the Hawkins family. Ben’s son, Mark Hawkins, has been the CEO of the $468 million Riverside County CU, California, for the last 15 years. Mark credits his father for getting him interested in the industry. He said he had ambitions of being a lawyer, but when he studied the industry more as a part of a project in a Political Science class in college, he was taken by the mission of CUs. Mark said he doesn’t think his father ever received much recognition on a national scale in the industry, though he was a player in a number of national organizations and initiatives, such as bringing share drafts to the industry, CUNA, and the Education Council of Credit Unions. “I miss him and many others do as well. My dad was a terrific guy who did a lot for credit unions,” said Hawkins. (Editor’s Note: Credit Union Times just learned of Mr. Hawkins passing, which occurred on Sept. 25 of this year. Because of his importance to the industry, the item appears here in this November issue).

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