Texans Credit Union: In 2020, the executive leadership team of Texans Credit Union ($2.2 billion in assets; 113,436 members) was tasked with building the credit union back to its former status as a premier credit union after it had fallen into conservatorship. The team faced steep challenges including low employee morale, outdated technology, poor member service and lack of a full C-suite, not to mention a global pandemic. After filling out the credit union’s C-suite, the executive team focused on re-establishing a culture that empowers employees, sparks innovation and generates new processes. The entire C-suite of Texans Credit Union is just two years old today. It has helped the credit union achieve positive membership growth and build a team of employees who are now innovative, accountable, productive and happy. Employee turnover declined to 27% during the past two years after peaking at 50% in previous years.
Chartway Credit Union: The pandemic and the ever-changing social and political environment during the past several years have been a catalyst for reflection for the leadership team at Chartway Credit Union ($2.6 billion in assets; 197,265 members). In 2021, it conducted months of research that included internal and external surveys, focus groups and workshops, and it came away with a renewed purpose to help individuals, families and communities thrive. Chartway updated its brand with a new logo, icon and member correspondence to reflect its commitment to being inclusive, optimistic, passionate and empowering. In addition, the leadership team committed to updating its leadership style to be more effective and project kindness and empathy as the organization moves into a growth phase. Each leader committed to one-on-one professional development sessions and they convened to share ideas, insights and tools to create positive change across the organization.
Community Credit Union: Community Credit Union ($90.9 million in assets; 11,641 members) has made it a primary goal to combat financial predators and build financial wellness in its communities, an initiative that has earned it recognition both locally and nationally. The leadership team invested in financial education for staff that included how to identify and avoid predatory lending practices, budgeting, developing emergency funds and building credit wisely. Employees were then empowered to assist members in escaping the cycle of predatory lending and encouraged to continuously offer financial education at every transaction. On a larger scale, leadership worked to educate the community about predatory lending practices through editorials, articles, social media posts and community training sessions. The credit union invested $20,000 in search engine optimization starting in Feb. 2022 to focus on predatory lending, check cashers and other key financial education terms to help members avoid financial pitfalls.
Credit Union National Association: As the world heads into a new normal in the wake of COVID-19, the Credit Union National Association recently updated its advocacy, engagement and events programming to help credit unions remain relevant, promote their members’ financial wellbeing and set the stage for industry growth. CUNA’s advocacy team worked to eliminate regulatory hurdles that impede credit unions, which led to several temporary regulatory suspensions and multiple bills to modernize the Federal Credit Union Act. The association also brought the industry back together for the first major in-person advocacy event in two years – the 2022 CUNA Government Affairs Conference – attended by nearly 5,000 people. Three pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress during GAC, including a CUNA-League bill on field of membership. Overall, CUNA advanced eight bills this year, wrote more than 180 letters to lawmakers and regulators, and filed three amicus briefs and one Freedom of Information Act request to advance credit union advocacy in Washington, D.C.
Credit Union of Texas: Nearly a century after it was founded to support Dallas teachers during the Great Depression, Credit Union of Texas ($2.1 billion in assets; 150,765 members) maintains a focus on giving back and helping the underserved and vulnerable. At the core of its community engagement model, introduced in 2018, are seven community engagement officers who understand the community’s needs and provide volunteers and financial support to meet those needs. The team focuses on five main areas of need, including suburban homelessness, domestic violence, special needs, food scarcity and child advocacy. In addition, CUTX’s commitment to creating a pipeline of leaders starts at the top with CEO Eric Pointer, who joined CUTX as a part-time teller at 21 and advanced through the ranks during his 29-year career. The CUTX Pathways program, introduced this year, admits eight employees each year to experience each department, earn an MBA paid for by CUTX and advance within CUTX upon successful completion of the program.
Municipal Credit Union: When New York City’s municipal employees needed the support of their credit union the most at the outset of the pandemic, Municipal Credit Union ($4.3 billion in assets; 590,850 members) was in conservatorship after years of fraud and mismanagement. Kyle Markland was hired as CEO in November 2020 and he quickly established an executive team focused on saving MCU through strict expense management, careful margin management to lower the cost of funds, increasing revenue by engaging members and growing loans while keeping a careful eye on loan quality to keep delinquency well managed. In Feb. 2022, 42 months ahead of schedule, MCU exited conservatorship and was returned to its member-owners. After a brief celebration of their success, Markland and MCU’s executive team have moved from survival mode to building a strategic plan to best serve its members, which include members of the NY Police Department, Fire Department of New York and New York City hospital workers.
New Orleans Firemen's Federal Credit Union: During the past year, the greatest challenge for the executive leadership team at New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union ($260 million in assets; 28,346 members) was Hurricane Ida, which hit all nine of its branches across Louisiana and Mississippi, damaging buildings and leaving about half of its employees without access to their homes. Operating on generator backup power, spotty internet and cellular coverage, and only about 100 employees, the credit union continued serving members with the help of evacuated employees working on laptops. In addition, Firemen’s FCU opened its branches for displaced employees to use as temporary housing. In less than 60 days after Ida’s rampage, Firemen’s FCU funded 369 emergency loans for over $593,000 and 748 loan deferrals. In less tumultuous times, each executive operates as the CEO of their department working on goals ranging from growing loans, performing financial coaching, improving and adding digital services, refining the branch and contact center experiences, and creating efficiencies in back-office programs.
The finalists were selected by our editorial team from several hundred stellar nominations in four award categories: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Executive Leadership, Innovation in Technology and Product Innovation.
This slideshow highlights the seven finalists from our Executive Leadership: Organization category. These submissions reflect a very competitive group that we had to exhaustively study to get to the final seven organizations. Congratulations to these finalists!
The LUMINARIES Class of 2022 Finalists recently were reviewed by a diverse panel of judges from across the credit union industry, and a select group of winners will be announced on stage at the program’s first awards dinner and gala — set to take place Nov. 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.