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INDIANAPOLIS – Coaching and teaching is in Ron Collier’s blood and he’ll need it in his new position as CEO of the $760 million Indiana Members Credit Union. After 18 years with Indiana Members CU, five as president, Collier has been named CEO, taking over for Ed Lechner, who spent 34 years at the credit union. Lechner has had some health problems over the years so Collier, 46, was named president about five years ago to “show our employees that we had someone in charge” in Lechner’s absence said Collier. Thankfully, said Collier, Lechner’s health has improved. Collier was born and raised in Indianapolis. He attended Ball State, graduating in 1979 with a degree in secondary education. His goal at that time was to teach and coach. “I got into teaching because I wanted to coach. I found I liked teaching more than coaching. After three years of it, I wanted something else,” said Collier. He had a friend working at the Indiana CU League who told him about the League’s desire to bring someone on in a training capacity. “They created a position for training director. That’s how I got started in credit unions.” And he’s never left credit unions. Collier held a number of positions in his 18 years with Indiana Members CU including VP of Planning and Administration, EVP, and of course president. He’s helped lead the CU through 26 mergers. “Every time we were by far the larger credit union merging with a smaller credit union. You have to convince them that large is not necessarily bad. With a stroke of a pen a small credit union gets all the services that a large credit union has,” he said. Indiana Members CU has 20 branches. Collier said what’s unique about the CU is the branches really operate very independently, that helps in merger talks. Collier is a big believer in training and ongoing education, but wishes there was more time to do it. “As a financial we’re open a lot of hours, so it’s hard to get the time to train many people at the same time,” he said. He admits that the CU is at a bit of a crossroads. Most of the large CUs it competes against are community chartered, and while it is not, it now has a very large FOM (the counties surrounding Indianapolis) that it’s trying to penetrate. “Instead of having that close tie to an employer, we’re taking in members from all over. It’s a change that’s not all positive. It’s a challenge,” said Collier. Indiana Members CU was originally chartered to serve hospitals and universities in Indianapolis, two groups it still serves. As for management style, Collier said he’s hands-on with staff but wants them to each be entrepreneurs in their own right. “I’ve done almost all the jobs here, so I just can’t cut myself off from the operations. But I try to give the team members as much empowerment as I can. We have a very good team. The least senior of our senior managers has been here 10 years.” Collier has been refereeing high school football since 1986, and says it does correlate with running a credit union. “You learn how to be fair and that’s a good management trait. You have to learn a lot of rules, just like in credit unions today.” He also gets a taste of what it’s like to be the target of criticism. “Someone always thinks you get it wrong, but that’s the fun part of it. A lot of guys like to holler at the referee.” Coaching is still a love of Collier’s, and he’s been coaching a baseball travel team since 1993. He holds a seat on the St. Francis Hospital Foundation Board and is an active member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Indiana Make-A-Wish Foundation. He enjoys fishing, golfing and spending time with his wife Debbie and his three children. [email protected]

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