Brian Best, GTE Financial: In the six years since Brian Best took the helm at GTE Financial ($2.9 billion in assets; 229,584 members) as president and chief executive officer, the credit union has experienced historic growth – growth in its assets 58.2%, deposits 57.1%, revenue 26.5%, ROA 113% and lending origination 37.6%. However, Best takes even greater pride in his focus on people, including becoming a top-rated employer, serving more than 41,000 LatinX members and employing a staff that is more than 52% minority. Best brought card services, virtual banking and mortgage servicing in-house to ensure the best experience for members. He has championed technology initiatives, including developing a highly rated mobile application. Finally, Best has shaped a culture of giving at GTE, which has donated $4.4 million and 21,000 volunteer hours to support charitable causes.
Kyle Markland, Municipal Credit Union: When Kyle Markland was offered the opportunity to become chief executive officer of Municipal Credit Union ($4.3 billion in assets; 590,850 members) in August 2020, he was faced with a difficult decision. MCU, which serves more than half a million New York municipal employees including NYPD, FDNY and hospital system employees, was in conservatorship after the former CEO embezzled $10 million. Markland, who began working in credit unions at the age of 17 and enjoyed many successes during his 41-year career, initially wanted to turn down the offer, but then decided to take it, believing he could make a difference. He redesigned the organization’s reporting structure, recruited new leaders, overhauled financial reporting and rebuilt consumer and real estate loan operations. His goal has been to return MCU to its members. When asked why he’d made the risky decision to become MCU’s CEO, Markland says it was the opportunity of a lifetime and the high point of his career to serve the “heroes of the greatest city in the world.”
Dan McGowan, Pioneer Appalachia FCU: Dan McGowan, chief executive officer of Pioneer Appalachia FCU ($232 million in assets; 18,348 members), was one of three professionals hired in late 2010 to turn the ship around when the credit union was struggling. During the past decade, Pioneer’s membership has grown 55% in line with McGowan’s strategy of being a consolidator of struggling credit unions as well as expanding its field of membership. Among his achievements are developing an internal solution for the CECL mandate at no additional cost to the credit union and implementing a sliding scale approach to overdraft/insufficient funds fees. McGowan championed a project to explore alternative dispute resolution options, resulting in the implementation of binding arbitration provisions into the credit union’s membership and loan agreements, one of its most significant initiatives ever. McGowan believes this is a legacy initiative that will benefit the credit union long after he retires.
Dan Stoltz, SPIRE Credit Union: Dan Stoltz is president and chief executive officer of SPIRE Credit Union ($2.1 billion in assets; 151,494 members), a role he took in 2010 amid the Great Recession when SPIRE was undercapitalized and facing an uncertain future. He previously had served as chief financial officer of the credit union since 1999. Under Stoltz’s leadership, SPIRE nearly doubled its assets from 2009 to 2017, growing from $563 million to $977 million. SPIRE has completed 10 mergers in eight years with Stoltz at the helm, effectively onboarding $318 million in assets and 37,400 members. Now ranked among the top credit unions in Minnesota, SPIRE has 22 branches and 350 employees. Stoltz was named a 2021 Cooperative Builder Award honoree, recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions at the local, state and/or national level to advance cooperative philosophy and ideals. Stoltz leads by example, living and breathing credit union values, cooperative philosophy, dedication to community, and the SPIRE vision to improve members’ lives each day.
Jan N. Roche, State Department FCU: Jan Roche approaches the unique challenge of serving members who live and work around the world with competent leadership and imagination. As President/CEO of State Department Federal Credit Union ($2.7 billion in assets; 90,970 members), Roche has met member needs including providing car loans for vehicles that never enter the U.S. and leading the financial industry to adopt microchip-enhanced credit cards, which were required for transactions in some countries years before the U.S. She also has encouraged employee groups that enable participants to share experiences and expertise, including the credit union’s Black Professional Network, Developing Professionals and She Leads, all launched in 2021. Roche influences the broader credit union industry through external partnerships she has forged and leadership roles she has held with the NAFCU and the Credit Union Miracle Day Inc. Roche is frequently tapped to represent the industry in meetings with government policymakers and regulators.
Bob McKay, Together Credit Union: Under Bob McKay’s leadership, Together Credit Union ($2.4 billion in assets; 138,399 members) has thrived. Within three years, McKay led the credit union’s rebranding, core conversion and a cards conversion involving 98,000 cards. During the past year, he also led the groundbreaking of a new branch, partnered with St. Louis CITY Soccer Club to increase community outreach and launched an app with Zogo to improve customer service. Meanwhile, the credit union’s fundamentals have been strong under McKay’s direction. Together Credit Union notched record loan volume and asset growth and was recognized by CUNA with a certificate of excellence for providing $26,277,089 in direct financial benefits to its members, or about $410 per member household, and $2,340 in direct financial benefits to high-use member households. McKay is an active member in the community, serving on the board of directors for the St. Louis Sports Commission, CU Direct and Heartland Credit Union Association.
We are pleased to continue our presentation of the LUMINARIES Class of 2022 Finalists, who are being recognized this year for the many dynamic and inclusive ways they are driving the credit union industry forward.
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 six finalists from our Executive Leadership: Individual Executives (EAST) category. We had so many quality entries that we decided to geograpically split the category into East and West, so we could better represent the outstanding leaders across the country.
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.