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Mike Welch observed some time ago that credit union leaders, once retired, are all too often relegated to the “back burner.” I would say that it is indeed very unfortunate that most credit union volunteers and staff are generally lost to the credit union community once they retire and that credit unions should preserve and tap into the talent, experience and energy that so many of these “former” credit union volunteers and staff bring to the table. In this vein, it was my distinct privilege to announce NAFCU’s Emeritus Program at our 22nd Volunteer’s Conference in May. The Emeritus Program was designed by NAFCU’s Membership Committee to address the continuing desire of retired credit union staff and volunteers to maintain a voice in the NAFCU family. The obvious outcome and goal will be to keep and expand a valuable knowledge base. For instance, we’ll maintain a list of retired credit union professionals and volunteers who are interested in consulting or mentoring opportunities with credit unions. Individuals in the program will have continued access to that portion of NAFCU’s Web site designated as “member only” and specific discussion areas will also be provided. In talking to credit union representatives around the country, I believethat estimates showing somewhere between 20 and 30% of credit union CEOs retiring within five years are right on target. In fact, it may be even more. Quite simply, credit union retirees, whether staff or volunteers, are aresource we cannot afford to lose. I applaud other organizations and credit unions that have made similar efforts to keep such valuable resources available to us all. Often we are only able to move forward when our actions are tempered by the experience of the past. Let’s make sure we keep that connection alive by providing our retirees with a positive outlet for their continued involvement. Fred Becker President and CEO National Associations of Federal Credit Unions Arlington, Va.

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