Forward-Looking Debie Keesee Continues Northwest Presence on CUNA Board of Directors

Keesee is a veteran voice in the national credit union movement. She is a past Chair of CUNA’s Small Credit Union Committee, served on CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Committee for three years and served on a Charter Review Task Force Committee.

Keesee’s term began during CUNA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. last month. At the same time, Susan Streifel, President and CEO of Woodstone CU in Federal Way, Washington, ended her term as CUNA Board Chairwoman.

 “As Susan’s term ended, I welcomed the opportunity to keep the Northwest influence strong,” said Keesee. She threw her hat in the ring and was unopposed in the last election. “In today’s political climate, I would not like to have seen an ugly campaign,” she quipped but added in all seriousness, “I would also like to see more people want to run for the position, and have an opportunity to be more involved at a national level.

Although elected as a “Class A” member of the CUNA board representing small credit unions with fewer than 30,000 members, Keesee understands the big picture.

“I will advocate for and represent all credit unions. Having served as past Chair of the Northwest Credit Union Association Board and with my involvement on CUNA committees, I am well positioned to act on behalf of all credit unions.”

Keesee has testified and advocated for initiatives such as Member Business Lending, even though her $10 million asset-sized, 1,200 member credit union will likely not be doing member business lending anytime in the near future.  

She lauded CUNA and the league system for legislative and regulatory wins and for their renewed vigilance in raising public awareness about the credit union difference. 

“I would love to find a way to educate, engage and involve all credit unions in our advocacy movement,” said Keesee who acknowledged that some credit unions are not at the advocacy table, and said “that’s a crime.”

“I know how tough it is,” she said. “When you work with a limited amount of resources, some days it’s difficult to even look up from your desk. It’s all you can do in many credit unions, to get the day-to-day tasks done. But credit unions under 100 million in assets are 75 percent of the movement. Think how we could move the needle if even a third of small credit unions got involved in advocacy, talking to their regulators, talking to Congress, engaging their boards and their staff.”

The forward-looking Keesee is optimistic.

“Change is good. We should not be afraid of it and we should not be afraid of doing what is necessary to enhance our national association. I’m looking forward to working at that level for the benefit of our credit unions.”

In addition to Keesee, new and re-elected board members, including those elected by acclamation, include:

  • Mark S. Brantley, Board Member, Municipal CU, New York;
  • Bradley Green, President/CEO, Listerhill CU, Sheffield, AL.;
  • Roger Heacock, President/CEO, Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, SD.;
  • John C. Sackett, Board Treasurer, Royal CU, Eau Claire, WI.;
  • Scott Sullivan, President/CEO, Nebraska Credit Union League; and
  • Joe Thomas, President/CEO, Fairfax County FCU, Fairfax, VA.

 CUNA Board Officers elected during the annual meeting are:

  • Vice Chair: Patrick Jury, President/CEO, Iowa Credit Union League, Des Moines, IA.;
  • Secretary: Maurice Smith, President/CEO, Local Government FCU, Raleigh, NC.;
  • Treasurer: Brett Martinez, President/CEO, Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, CA.; and
  • At-large Member: Troy Stang, President/CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association, SeaTac, WA.

Rod Staatz, President/CEO of SECU, Linthicum, MD., was elected chair, succeeding Streifel.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA.