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ELLISVILLE, Miss. – Go ahead and call Lorena Matthews “a Southern gal.” She didn’t mind being teased with that nickname by her associates when she served as the last deputy administrator to the NCUA, and she doesn’t mind it now. That was in 1977 and Lawrence Connell had been named the last administrator of the NCUA – he was subsequently named the first chairman of the National Credit Union Administration in 1979 when the NCUA administrator was replaced with a three-member board. Matthews also served as deputy administrator to Connell’s predecessors – General Herman Nickerson Jr. (appointed 1970) and C. Austin Montgomery (appointed 1976). Before that she served on the NCUA six-person advisory board as its only female member. Matthews is 91 years old now and lives by herself in the house she lived in and built with her husband Clayton Lamar Matthews who died in December 2003. They’d been married 33 years. A native of Meridian, Miss. – located about 125 from where she lives now – Matthews has two stepchildren who live in Kentucky and Illinois. She spends her time these days playing bridge and doing work for her church. But she remembers fondly the time she spent working at Y-12 FCU, Oakridge, Tenn. as manager and treasurer, her days at NCUA, and her involvement with NAFCU. “I never regretted going to work in the morning, no matter how much work I knew was waiting for me,” she says. “I loved my work with credit unions. I love the idea of helping people better their lives, and it gave me a great feeling of satisfaction when I went home from work knowing I helped someone. It’s such a busy world now we sometimes don’t have time to do that,” Matthews adds. Matthews conveyed that attitude in her work, and the people she worked with remember that about her. “Lorena was a class act,” recalls Rosemary Hardiman who worked at NCUA as Connell’s executive assistant when he was administrator. She subsequently became secretary of the board when the agency became a three-person board. “She is every inch a classy Southern woman and she set an example when she was with the NCUA,” Hardiman continues. “Everything you think of in terms of graciousness and Southern hospitality she exemplified.” With her experience of having worked with Y-12 FCU, Hardiman says Matthews “was able to provide the administrator with a perspective of how different policies would affect credit unions on a day-to-day basis. She was very involved.” Connell, who is now vice chairman of Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. expresses similar recollections of Matthews. “Lorena is a lovely lady and a fine woman. She loved the credit union movement and was very savvy in understanding people,” he says. “When I first came to NCUA I had been the bank commissioner in the state of Connecticut and regulated state-chartered credit unions there. Lorena knew NCUA and provided me a continuity of knowledge. She was always very helpful and loyal and could advise you about people in the credit union movement.” Jim Barr, executive vice president (now referred to as president/CEO position) of NAFCU from 1970-1978, also remembers Matthews fondly as being very people oriented and fiercely loyal to her friends. “My first close encounter with Lorena was at NAFCU’s annual meeting in July 1971. NAFCU had a very small staff then. She was there with her husband Lamar who our spouses affectionately referred to as their `den daddy.’ “There were only a few women who were extremely prominent in the credit union movement at the time,” Barr continues, “and Lorena was definitely one of them.” Barr opines that Matthews has left a three-tiered legacy to the credit union movement: the first, he says, is her career with Y-12 FCU and her involvement with various credit union organizations such as the Tennessee Credit Union League and CUES; tier two includes her involvement on the six-person NCUA Advisory Board “which had an exalted position in the credit union world.” Barr adds that, “Lorena was able to move through three different administrators who were appointed by three different presidents from two different parties, and she did that admirably. First she was able to smooth out Gen. Nickerson’s rough edges. Montgomery was 180-degrees removed from Nickerson. With Connell, you had a very professional administrator.” The third tier of Matthews’ legacy, says Barr, is what she brought to the NCUA from the regulatory side. “Her contribution was one of being a diplomat back to credit unions. She put a human face on the NCUA administration.” Barr still talks to Matthews regularly, and the last time he saw her was a little over a year ago. “I definitely owe her a visit,” he says. Friends of Lorena Matthews who would like to contact her can reach her at (601) 477-8853 -

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