ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The New Jersey Credit Union League had a difficult year on the leadership front, said NJCUL Chairman Rina Pantano, but she believes the league is now positioned to make progressive strides. The league’s problems stemmed from former CEO Tom Shaughnessy, who was fired last year for fraudulent activity and has since been indicted on embezzlement charges. Pantano, who is CEO of NJ Gateway Federal Credit Union in Dayton, N.J., said the league has put new policies in place to prevent future improprieties by league leaders. Sources close to this story said Shaughnessy defrauded the league for close to $290,000, most of which it has received back from a claim it filed with CUNA Mutual. Pantano, who led the league’s CEO search committee, said one of its objectives was to find a leader with strong integrity. She believes Bob Walls has both the values and professional experience the league needs at this time. Walls is the former CEO of the Delaware Credit Union League and a former Delaware state trooper. Walls is the league’s third CEO in three years so all eyes will be focused on his leadership. Pantano wants New Jersey credit union leaders to be excited about the future of the league, and not dwell on the past. She said the league is adding a new director of government affairs, who Pantano expected to be on board shortly, to give the league a stronger presence in Trenton with state government. It is also seeking to hire a vice president of business development. About three out of four New Jersey CUs belong to NJCUL, so there is work to be done on affiliation. Pantano said NJCUL is very strong on grassroots lobbying, even at the assembly level. “We focus on assemblymen because they are our future representatives,” said Pantano, who herself recently worked on an assembly campaign. The league is also involved on the federal side. Pantano recently led a delegation from the league to Capitol Hill to attend the recent House Ways and Means Committee meeting on the tax-exemption, and also attended a CUNA’s Hike the Hill with reps from Empire Corporate, the primary corporate for New Jersey credit unions. Pantano is anxious for the league’s cooperative advertising campaign to get underway. Pantano said New Jersey credit unions have been generous in donating to the campaign, with the league matching donations dollar for dollar. If Pantano’s attitude is any indication of how this league will do in the future, the future looks bright. “I’m just so excited. I have so much energy and am committed to this movement. It’s really in my heart and soul to be part of this movement and this league,” she said. This was Walls’ first annual meeting as CEO, but certainly not as an attendee. He’s been to the meeting many times as CEO of the Delaware CU League. “There are a lot of great things happening with New Jersey credit unions, we’re here to help them as much as we can with operational issues,” said Walls. This year’s attendance was up over last year, with over 1,000 people on hand. [email protected]

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