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MC LEAN, Va. – Picture Ron Snellings when he was president of Pentagon FCU and Patelco CU and a member or chairman of various credit union trade association and vendor committees – always traveling around the country or internationally to attend various meetings and working long hours. Picture someone just the opposite of that, and that’s Snellings since he retired from the leadership position at Pentagon – and from the world of credit unions – in December 1999. “I told people when I’m gone, I’m gone. I’m retiring to retire, I’m not trying to hang on with any credit union group. I want to go and do my thing and not work,” Snellings told Credit Union Times. Despite Snellings’ insistance, there were still some doubters who tried to catch him when his guard was down and attract Snellings to a credit union job or function. “People didn’t think I was serious and kept sending me invitations. I told them if I wanted to work, I would have stayed on. I didn’t retire to work somewhere else.” Once Snellings decided to retire from Pentagon, he gave the credit union one-year notice. He said he did it that way “not because I thought I was irreplaceable, but because I thought it would take the board awhile to pick up the reins and start doing something.” Snellings was succeeded by PFCU’s current president/CEO Frank Pollack These days the 70-year old Snellings can more likely be found spending time participating in or watching various sports primarily baseball, football and golf (he says his goal is to stay below 100 for 18 holes); spending about nine hours a week communicating with friends and conducting other business via e-mail; having lunch with friends and dinner with close associates who may also be retirees from Navy FCU or PFCU; exercising with his wife of 32 years Alexandra “Alex”; and doing miscellaneous gardening, reading, and various handyman projects around the house. That’s just the daily “not committed to any schedule” routine Snellings prefers these days. He candidly admits that, “I quit my job when I was 65 after I’d worked for 50 years. When you run credit unions like the ones I did – I had a thousand people working for me at Pentagon (FCU) – I felt like someone had lifted something off my back when I retired. You walk around with it all the time.” Of course that’s not the shape Snellings found Pentagon in when he started there in February 1987 When he got the call from a recruiter to interview for the position, he explained that the then $1.3 billion credit union was “having some problems” mostly in the form of bad loans on its books and about 400 repossessed cars mostly in Europe from its overseas members. “That’s typical of a lot of organization that have a lot of savings but not enough loans,” says Snellings. “They relax their loan policies to encourage lending. In Pentagon’s case they took their hits, and the NCUA got after them. When I came along I knew they were in a terrible mess. I made them guarantee me a five-year contract.” That five-year contract of course wound up becoming a 12-year tenure with Pentagon. Once he was hired, Snellings immediately got busy righting things. One of the remedies he implemented was getting Pentagon to use a credit screening system again for issuing credit cards. According to Snellings, NCUA had found Pentagon had been issuing more than one credit card to members and the CU’s credit evaluations were based on a normal secured credit line even though many members’ credit lines were shaky. Another problem Snellings had to tackle shortly into his presidency was Pentagon’s computer system. When he started, the CU was also just a couple months away from completing a transfer to a new computer system. Once the new system was installed, Snellings said Pentagon found a lot of glitches in it and that triggered delayed times of up to six weeks in some cases in posting members’ transfers of funds. That problem was finally resolved as well. By the time Snellings left Pentagon, the CU had over $2 billion in assets. It’s currently the third largest credit union in the U.S. Of course Snellings’ history at Pentagon was pre-dated by his eight years working as president/treasurer of Patelco CU from April 1979-February 1987, and before that for 18 years as assistant manager/director member services at Navy FCU. A Virginia native who grew up in D.C., Snellings cut his teeth working with financial institutions at what was then City Bank and is now American Security Bank. A graduate of Ben Franklin College with a major in accounting, one of the bank’s customers was Navy FCU which at the time, Snellings recalls, had about $20 million in assets and 50,000 members. Navy hired him away from the bank in 1961 to work for $8,000 as the CU’s number two person. That got Snellings started on what turned out to be a 38-year credit union career punctuated by serving on various credit union boards and committees. Among those activities were: member and vice chairman, administrative board of Filene Research Institute; member of CUNA Credit Union Lending Committee; board member of the California Credit Union League; chairman and member of CU-ATM Cooperative; and supervisory committee member of WesCorp. These days Snellings says he’s deliberately distanced himself from the credit union world. He prefers to spend his time relaxing with Alex and visiting his five children and eight grandchildren. One of his sons died last year. “It takes a lot of time to follow what’s been going on. I never intended to work at another job after I retired,” he says. Well maybe not entirely – he still belongs to the Filene Research Institute and receives their research papers. – [email protected] Friends of Ron Snellings who would like to contact him can reach him at (703) 893-3291.

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