NWCUA Chair John Zmolek Urges Credit Unions to ‘Lean In’ at Annual Business Meeting


Northwest Credit Union Association Board Chair, John Zmolek, addresses MAXX attendees in Spokane during the Annual Business Meeting. Zmolek is President and CEO of Verity Credit Union.

When Northwest credit unions lean in and collaborate with each other and their Association, we can accomplish great things. That was the message Northwest Credit Union Association Board Chair and President and CEO of Verity Credit Union, John Zmolek, stressed during the 2019 Annual Business Meeting at MAXX.

“As cooperatives, we have an advantage in that we can join together to amplify our voices,” he stressed to attendees. “To keep moving forward, we must continue to ensure we have a charter that allows us to compete on the community, state, and national stage.”

This year, the NWCUA launched the new Federal Charter Work Group, as well as the Global Environment of Cooperative Finance Study Group. The Federal Charter Work Group focuses on ensuring credit unions remain relevant by prioritizing Northwest credit unions’ federal policy advancement agenda. The Global Environment of Cooperative Finance Study Group is conducting an in-depth study of the global modern-day cooperative finance environment.

“This important work will ensure we stay visionary in our views, and ready to meet and create our own future,” Zmolek said.

He encouraged attendees to follow and engage with the work of the two committees, while also stressing the importance of participating in the Community Impact Reporting Tool (CIRT).

“The Community Impact Reporting Tool will enable us to show the unique value credit unions provide members and the community as a whole,” Zmolek said. “We can show our legislators that credit unions don’t need regulations to make a difference in our communities. We do that naturally, and ask all of you to help us tell that story.”

CIRT was launched last year, at MAXX 2018, and already many credit unions have entered their data online.

Zmolek also encouraged attendees to “do just one more thing, have one more conversation with a legislator, or bring one more credit union friend along to advance the Credit Union Movement.”

Later in the day, Zmolek announced the 2019-2020 Board and officially welcomed Stacie Wyss-Schoenborn, President and CEO of Central Willamette Credit Union, who was elected to the Board this summer.

In addition, the Board’s Executive Committee was reorganized. Along with Zmolek as Board Chair, it includes:

  • Kent Oram, Vice Chair, Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Jeff Adams, Secretary/Treasurer, Horizon Credit Union
  • Larry Ellifritz, Executive Committee Member at Large, Consolidated Community Credit Union

Other members of the 2019-2020 NWCUW Board include:

  • Trisha Baker, Director, Lewis Clark Credit Union
  • Don Clark, Director, Sound Credit Union
  • Bert Fisher, Director, Our Community Credit Union
  • Jim Lumpkin, Director, USAgencies Credit Union
  • Teri Robinson, Director, Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union
  • Dan Thurman, Director, East Idaho Credit Union
  • Brooke Van Vleet, Director, InRoads Credit Union

Zmolek thanked 2018-2019 Board members for their service, and called special attention to Bob Newcomb, CEO of SELCO Community Credit Union, and Debie Keesee, CEO of Spokane Media Federal Credit Union. Newcomb will finish his final term after serving for 12 years – three on the Credit Union Association of Oregon Board and nine with NWCUA. Keesee stepped down from the Board earlier in 2019 after 18 years of service. She served nine years on the Washington Credit Union League Board and another nine on NWCUA’s Board.

Later during the President’s Address, NWCUA President and CEO, Troy Stang, provided attendees with a recap of 2019 successes, a look at what’s to come in 2020, and echoed Zmolek’s sentiments about continuing to engage to make the Movement strong.

Stang told the crowd: “Everyone in this room and in the Northwest Credit Union Movement owns our collective success. You hold the keys to unleashing the power of our collective impact. And the results accomplished by working together are insurmountable.”

Posted in MAXX Annual Convention.