When Paul Simkins left his bank job to become a credit unionbranch manager, he admitted that “service to others” was not on hismind.

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After learning and experiencing the difference between creditunion and banks, however, Simkins became known as one of theindustry's leading pioneers when he retired in 2005.

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Simkins, a cofounder and the charter vice presidentof CULIANCE, formerly CU24, and president/CEO of five differentcredit unions, passed away on May 26 at the age of 77 in Florida,his son, Paul Simkins Jr., said.

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He became the MasterCard manager for Sun Banks of Orlando in1969 when Walt Disney World was just getting started in Orlando. Henoticed Disney employees were coming to the bank to cash theirchecks drawn from Security Pacific Bank of California, and he hadto sign off on the approval. So he contacted Disney and proposedthey wire the employees' payroll funds directly to Sun Banks tomake it easier for employees to cash their checks.

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That initiative paid off for Simkins.

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In 1973, he was hired as a branch manager Vista Federal CreditUnion in Orlando whose field-of-membership included Walt DisneyWorld employees. Simkins admits that when he began working at VistaFCU he didn't come with any cooperative mission in mind.

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“It was just a job,” he said in a 2005 interview with CUTimes.

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He met executives through CUES who were all out ministers forcredit unions, and they converted him, he said.

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After earning his stripes at Vista FCU, Simkins went on to workas president/CEO of McCoy Federal Credit Union in Orlando. Then hebegan crisscrossing the U.S. working first on the West Coast aspresident/CEO for Mare Island Federal Credit Union in Vallejo,Calif., then back to the East Coast as president/CEO, MacDillFederal Credit Union in Tampa. He followed that by working aspresident/CEO at Pan Am Horizons Federal Credit Union in Homestead,Fla.

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What's more, Simkins also was a cofounder and president ofCENTCUSO and a charter board member of Card Services for CreditUnions (Certegy).

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After leaving the industry for a few years to work for afinancial management and consulting firm, he returned in 2002aspresident/CEO of CORE Credit Union in Statesboro, Ga.

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In addition to son, Paul Jr., Simkins is survived by his wifeMartha Jo Simkins of Oviedo, Fla.; daughter, Natalie K. Fore; son,David Gregory Simkins; sisters, Loretta Lemieux, Madeline Thomas;seven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

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Visitation will be June 1, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the NewcomerFuneral Home & Cremation Services, 895 S. Goldenrod Road inOrlando. Funeral services will be at University Carillon UMC, 1395Campus View Court in Oviedo.

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