PrimeSource CEO Margaret Osborn to Retire after Serving Spokane Credit Unions for 43 Years

“People Helping People” is not just a slogan for Margaret Osborn. She’s been in the credit union industry since 1978, a testament to her commitment to serve members. Today, as CEO of Spokane-based PrimeSource Credit Union, she’s preparing to pass that responsibility along to her successor, Annettee Babb, who will take over as CEO when Osborn retires at the end of June.

Osborn started her credit union career while still in high school through the DECA program, working as a collections clerk for Spokane Railway Credit Union (now known as Numerica Credit Union). A few years later, she moved to PrimeSource (formerly Telco Credit Union), and in her early 20s, decided her career goal was to become a credit union CEO. To achieve that, she has held every position in the credit union, helping her understand both the members’ and employees’ needs and wants.

“If you’ve been there and done those jobs, you can manage much more strategically,” said Osborn.

From collections clerk to teller supervisor and beyond to her current role, Osborn has navigated PrimeSource through major changes. Citing the credit union’s name change and construction of their headquarters as a couple of her main accomplishments, she recognized the significance of widening the credit union’s base to stay relevant. Osborn says the member growth has been steady because of the credit union’s commitment to serve. PrimeSource has won both industry and community awards over the years.

“I’ve focused our efforts on building relationships within the community and our staff takes pride in that, volunteering for causes on their personal time,” said Osborn. “We also want to ensure we are offering our members important benefits that improve their lives.”

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic was something that no one could have anticipated. Osborn said that her Board was adamant that no staff members would be laid off, so it was a challenge like no other that she had experienced in her career — and one she’s proud to have managed.

“We had a mandate to stay safe yet were able to continue to keep our doors open and serve our members,” said Osborn. “At first, it was a rocky road, but we gained a stronger bond with staff through COVID-19. Everyone jumped in to do what they were asked to do. I’m really proud of my staff through this unforeseen year-and-a-half.”

Throughout her career, and especially in leadership roles, Osborn has nurtured employees, being open with them and helping them realize their own goals. She holds regular one-on-ones with all employees, from tellers on up.

“In a small credit union, like ours, you can’t keep all your knowledge to yourself. You have to be open with your staff and connect with them,” she said.

Her retirement came as a bit of a surprise, almost five years earlier than planned. Since Osborn has kept PrimeSource Executive Vice President Annettee Babb involved in day-to-day decisions for many years, it was easy to name her as successor. According to Osborn, being open and transparent with information has been key.

“I would never want my successor to struggle.”

Osborn worked closely with Babb over the past several years, giving her the opportunity to build relationships with staff and board members. Babb is completing CUNA Management School and is ready to take the reins. She’ll work toward her own vision for PrimeSource, which Osborn has encouraged.

“Historically, we’ve always had strong capital, and as the new CEO my goal will be to continue that pattern,” Babb said. “PrimeSource will work towards diversifying products and focusing on member services like payment solutions. 2020 was a good reminder that diversity and technology are important as we prepare for the future.”

Osborn’s advice for other credit union leaders planning to retire soon?

“Create a written succession plan that involves all staff members,” she said. “Also, promote from within because, especially for smaller credit unions, grooming internally is critical to success. Credit union employees have a passion to serve their members and community, so if you cultivate that from within, you have that passion already built into the organization.”

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Posted in Leadership.