Bob Schumacher Retires as CEO of MountainCrest

During his senior management career at MountainCrest Credit Union, Bob Schumacher has managed his team through some of the most tumultuous events to ever rock the modern financial services world. The most notable were 9-11, the 2008 recession and the recent Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day movements that galvanized hundreds of thousands of consumers to join credit unions.

That depth of experience has given him a certain perspective. Even with a positive spotlight now shining on the credit union environment, Schumacher knows full well how credit unions struggle with the “expansion of oversight, of concern, over-regulation at times, over-compliance,” resulting from the big banking crisis.

Yet as he steps down from his role as CEO at MountainCrest, he is confident that credit unions—and the need for them—will only grow.

“As long as there are banks, there will have to be credit unions,” he said. “As long as we can keep the philosophy of people helping people alive as a driver in what we do, and as long as we treat members so well, we will always need to be here for them.”

Schumacher was recruited into the credit union movement 34 years ago by meeting planners for the Credit Union National Administration (CUNA). He had been working as a hotel manager near CUNA headquarters in Madison, Wis.—“the center of the credit union universe”—before being hired away to work for CUNA’s Convention Services and National Advertising programs.

Stints with the Washington and Florida trade association service corporations followed, as did a position with a credit union mortgage CUSO. Fifteen years ago, he accepted a position as vice president for the Snohomish County PUD Credit Union in Everett, Wash. The named later changed to MountainCrest Credit Union, and Schumacher became the CEO in 2001. In 2008, MountainCrest and Educational Community Credit Unions merged and moved headquarters to Arlington, Wash.

Being a credit union CEO might have been enough for many professionals, but at the same time he was getting the keys to the corner office, he was certified as a Credit Union Development Educator.

“It was life-altering for me. I finally realized and discovered what they had been telling me for 20 years,” Schumacher said, noting he had waited years to enroll in the intense program due to other commitments. “My zealousness has never waned. It has grown. It’s the one legacy we need to leave each other in order to remain credit unions.”

He said some of the most passionate credit union movement promoters are CUDEs and calls the program one of his “dear loves.”

Schumacher took that passion twice to the Philippines, where he helped the World Council of Credit Unions with development projects. He is also a past board member of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

Schumacher handed the reins to Mark Morrison and retired as CEO of MountainCrest officially on Dec. 14, 2011. It may mark the end of an era, but is not the end of this busy professional’s commitment; he plans to continue a consulting partnership with the Paragon Group, a credit union development firm.

Two funds started in Schumacher’s name will ensure an educational legacy. MountainCrest has established a high school scholarship in his name, a development he learned of just before leaving office. Earlier this year, friends and colleagues announced a fund in his name granting honoraria gifts to the NCUF. Schumacher has asked that proceeds be split between two of his most valued causes: the Credit Union Development Educator’s program and “Biz Kid$,” the nationally television program teaching financial literacy to middle school students.

Schumacher and his wife also volunteer regularly for a Woodinville, Wash., winery. He’s not planning on growing grapes or owning a winery, but he may kick his volunteer efforts into high gear down the road in Walla Walla, Wash.—if he ever slows down enough.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.