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BISMARCK, N.D. – Mid-America Credit Union League is now officially “open for business” after hiring Anthony Richards, a Pittsburgh credit union consultant, to serve as the first president/CEO of the combined North and South Dakota Credit Union Leagues. Richards, who takes over the Mid-America job May 3, has been involved with CUs since 1980 and is a former staffer at state leagues in the District of Columbia, Kentucky and Illinois, before starting his service business, Strategic Resources Consulting, in 1999. “I am a registered lobbyist and am sensitive to the importance that credit unions command legislatively,” said Richards. “We need to maintain strong political ties on both sides of the aisle while continuing to foster credit union ideals and philosophy.” His appointment was announced by Douglas Thompson, the newly-elected chairman of Mid-America and president of Aberdeen FCU in South Dakota. Richards’ selection follows a nationwide search started last year and led by HR Values Group of Madison, Wis. in line with the formal December 2005 adoption of a merger agreement between the two leagues, an event in the works for several years. Thompson said he was delighted at the work of a joint search committee in picking Richards, noting also that 2006 will be a transition year for Mid-America as the new trade group takes shape. As a combined unit, Mid-America, with headquarters in Bismarck, will have 120 members. Because of contractual obligations with vendors and hotels, “we actually will have three functioning organizations until yearend,” said Thompson listing the two leagues and Mid-America as ongoing entities. Programs and planning for Mid-America are on the docket for discussion by South Dakota members at the South Dakota CU League’s annual convention in Sioux Falls May 4-5. Richards began his CU affiliation as a consultant with the Illinois CU League and later became vice president of the service corporation for the Kentucky League. He later joined the D.C. League, now the Maryland/D.C. Association, becoming executive vice president and chief operating officer. “I have worked with profit and nonprofit organizations ranging from `mom and pop’ start ups to Fortune 500 companies,” said Richards who holds a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s in management from Webster University, planning to complete a doctorate in organizational development. At the North Dakota League, Richards replaces Kermit Larsen, the president/CEO who retired at the end of March capping a 37-year career in the industry. Larsen plans to start part-time work May 1 as a trainer/education aide at First Community CU of Jamestown. The interim CEO of the South Dakota League, Leon Swenson, a veteran staffer and consultant, is expected to continue his consulting duties for Mid-America. Thompson said the South Dakota League’s headquarters remains up for sale though space inside the property has been rented. Lobbying duties between the two states will be arranged by Richards, said Thompson. [email protected]

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