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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John Smith, a political appointee to the position of director of the Missouri Credit Union Division, has become the victim of a change in administration in the governor’s office. Smith, 67, who was appointed to the position in 1999, will serve until April 1. The name that has been mentioned as the most likely new director under Gov. Matt Blunt is Sandra Branson, president/CEO, Missouri State CU. This would actually be Branson’s second time in the position. She previously served as Division director as an appointee of then-Gov. John Ashcroft from Jan. 1987-March 1993 and left when she was offered the position of president/CEO of Missouri State CU (she was succeeded by Acting Director David Bohrer). During her six-year term as Division director she also served as NASCUS chairman from 1992 through a portion of 1993. Prior to her first stint as director, Branson worked as VP, Missouri CU, Columbia; president, MFA Employees CU, Columbia, Mo.; and as a consumer loan officer with the First Bank of Commerce, also in Columbia. At press time, there was still no comment from the governor’s office on when he intended to formally announce his choice for new director. Smith has actually served as Division director under four governors – he was appointed by former Gov. Mel Carnahan in his second term. When Carnahan, along with his son, was killed in a plane crash in his last term when he made a run for the U.S. Senate, Lieutenant Gov. Roger Wilson took over the governor’s seat until Bob Holden was elected governor in 2001. Smith remained in the director’s position through Holden’s term in office. A native of Kansas City, Mo., Smith spent most of his life in Kansas. From 1993-1997 he served as administrator of the Kansas Credit Union Department under former Gov. Joan Finny, and prior to that he served for 21 years on the board or supervisory committee of Wesley Medical CU in Wichita. As a political appointee, Smith told Credit Union Times “it’s always been in the back of my mind that I could be terminated from my job whenever we got a new governor, so I was not totally surprised by Gov. Blunt’s decision,” though he said he is disappointed. Smith said he’s been fortunate to have served as director of the state’s credit unions for nearly six years. As he prepared to turn over the key to his office to the next director, Smith said there were several accomplishments he was most proud of during his term including Missouri becoming one of the first states to adopt a member business lending rule, and assets of Missouri’s credit unions have doubled, as has their net worth. Smith also got the state Credit Union Commission up and running. “I’ve left a pretty good legacy,” he said. At press time, Smith said he has no immediate professional plans but wants to remain involved with credit unions because “they really help people.” He and his wife who also works for the state, plan to remain in Missouri. Smith is a member of two credit unions – Wesley Medical CU and – ironically – Branson’s CU, Missouri State CU which serves state employees. Smith was NASCUS Chair-elect, and he planned to resign from the NASCUS Board. In the past – he has 10 years experience with NASCUS – he has also chaired the NASCUS Governmental Relations Committee and served on both the Education and Performance Standards Committees. NASCUS President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney agrees. “John has been an extremely effective board member and state regulator both in the states of Kansas and Missouri. We’re saddened that his appointment as director has ended, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as the opportunity presents,” she said. One such opportunity is the NASCUS Accreditation Review Team. The team of three includes one retired state regulator, and Fortney said NASCUS has “a cadre” of retired state regulators who assist the team. As for who will be NASCUS Chair-elect in Smith’s absence, Fortney said the NASCUS Board plans to meet in Denver April 2 and that will be one of the items on its agenda. Branson of course would assume the responsibility of director of the state’s Division of Credit Unions at a time when credit unions in the state are dealing with three field-of-membership challenges by the Missouri Bankers Association involving Telecomm CU (formerly Springfield Telephone Employees CU), Springfield; Central Communications CU, Kansas City; and South Community CU, St. Louis. The Missouri Supreme Court denied a petition to rehear the case that gave bankers standing to challenge the FOM expansions that were already approved by the Missouri Division of Credit Unions, and it remanded the cases back to Cole County Court last year where they remain. Branson told Credit Union Times that “being president of a credit union, I’ve been very tuned in to the regulatory hot issues. I’m up for the challenge.” Smith’s parting advice to Branson is to “continue to do what is necessary to make sure credit unions can expand their field-of-membership as their business dictates.” Rosie Holub, president/CEO, Missouri Credit Union Association agreed that, “Sandy is coming from the credit union community and is very familiar with the impediments to field-of-membership expansion created by our statute. In a regulatory capacity I’m sure she’ll do everything in her regulatory authority to make sure credit unions are empowered to contribute to their growth and success.” Holub added that Branson’s experience as a credit union president/CEO “deepens her perspective. Having been a credit union CEO she understands the effect of regulations and policy and therefore would probably make better policy knowing the impact on credit union operations. Knowing Sandy, she was an excellent regulator in the past. She is a very fair and firm individual who believes safety and soundness is paramount. She wants to protect and preserve credit unions and knows that requires they’re able to preserve their safety and soundness.” -

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