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LAS VEGAS-Mike Vadala, president and CEO of The Summit Federal Credit Union in Rochester, N.Y., is being realistic about his ninth and final year on the NAFCU Board, leaving him with just one year to serve as chairman. Vadala was elected chairman at NAFCU’s regular June board meeting after Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union President and CEO Diane Furnas announced she was stepping down. Heading up NAFCU’s board presents “a great chance to lead,” Vadala said. He added, “I was excited to be elected to the board. For the board to make me chairman, I’m humbled.” Vadala had been serving the previous two years as vice chair, but completing his eighth year of service on the NAFCU Board his term is limited to just one year as chairman. While he has plans for the organization in his one year, Vadala explained, “I want to have a positive impact without creating a whole world of things that the next person will have to undo.” He said he has already bounced some ideas off the executive committee, many of which he received positive feedback on, because of their experience and he “suspects” the next chairman will come from there. “It’s really not about me at all,” Vadala said. “It’s about credit unions first and foremost, then it’s about NAFCU.” And that means advocacy. He wants NAFCU to be even more out front on legislation and in other areas. Vadala recently testified for NAFCU at the Senate Banking Committee’s regulatory relief hearing. He had experience in testifying and knew the subject, which had the potential to be explosive with the bankers at his side at the panelists’ table, and was convinced to testify. However, he said a ninth-year board member in most instances should not be the one testifying; the other 11 board members need that experience. Vadala testified on behalf of NAFCU at the February 1997 House Subcommittee hearings on credit union membership and was also asked to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on the issue of credit union membership and ATM surcharges in 1998. In June 2003, he testified before the House Financial Institutions Subcommittee on extending Fair Credit Reporting Act preemptions. Vadala said the experience made him a better board member and NAFCU needs to “build an infrastructure on the board.” Regulatory relief and the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 2317) are two key areas Vadala wants to press on Capitol Hill. “We have got to prove to these people that we have some might. We may not get it passed but we have to go after it as if we will,” he stated. Vadala also wants to continue the rapid increases NAFCU has made to its political action committee and what the association is going to do with it, which is on the agenda for the next board meeting. He is not sure what will come of it, but he plans to ask NAFCU staffs for additional ideas. He said the presence NAFCU had at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions prior to the last election was crucial. On the regulatory front, NAFCU has to be “as effective as we can be with NCUA.” Vadala said. NAFCU has excellent relations with the current NCUA Board members, he said, but two new ones will be joining soon and NAFCU will have to start from scratch with them. All of this is to build a better future for credit unions and starts with the NAFCU Board. Vadala commented that NAFCU attracts active and interested people to its board and pointed out that he, Furnas, and retired Navy Federal Credit Union President and CEO Brian McDonnell would all be leaving the board over the next year or so. Additionally, NAFCU is paring its board down to 11, five regional and six at-large directors. Its board is based on NCUA’s regions, which have been cut back to five so it will be even more important to have quality people on the board, he said. Vadala said he will be out “beating the pavement” to find good replacements. Vadala also said it is important for NAFCU to work well with other trade groups. While CUNA, NASCUS and NAFCU may not always agree on everything, they can work together to try not to do each other damage. The same goes for the banking trade associations, Vadala said. They do not have to come out and support non-controversial items, like the Net Worth Amendment for Credit Unions Act (H.R. 1042), but they do not have to oppose it either. He wants the groups to talk everything out before it gets out on the table. And there may be areas that the groups can agree on and work together. Internally at NAFCU, he wants the group to continue to serve as a “conduit” for communication and networking for credit unions. NAFCU’s educational programs are also key to its members. Vadala said staff at The Summit call NAFCU’s compliance office frequently, which saves them research and time. As for NAFCU member credit unions and others, Vadala wants them to be sure and travel to Washington, D.C. for Congressional Caucus and meet with their congressmen. He encourages as many of his board members as the credit union can afford to attend. Serving as NAFCU’s chairman, Vadala is going to be even busier than he was before. He said he has always done what he had to to make his credit union’s meetings, whether it is meeting really early in the morning or making it a dinner meeting. “I’m not thinking it’s going to be easy. It’s not going to be a slam dunk here (at The Summit) or at home,” Vadala said. The board of The Summit has been very supportive of his activities with NAFCU, he added. Vadala’s credit union is working on intentional service to the underserved. “We always did it, but by happenstance,” he remarked. The Summit had always been over represented in the city, except in mortgages, the CEO explained. While at a meeting of one of the community groups he serves on he learned that is because 52% of city residents are renters. Now, the credit union is working to design programs to reach those renters. At home, he has his wife of 19 years and four active kids. Though he is not much of an early morning person, Vadala admitted he sneaks in some work on his golf game by getting up at 6:30 in the morning to hit a few balls. At the end of the chairmanship, Vadala said the first thing he is going to do is “take a deep breath.” Of his four kids, two have only known him as a NAFCU Board member. He plans to remain “a friend of NAFCU,” but feels he should step aside when his term ends. But, during his one-year as chairman, he just wants “people to feel my passion” for credit unions and serving their members. He wants credit unions to be a permanent fixture in the financial services landscape and continue providing alternatives. “Don’t forget what this is all about.” [email protected]

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