Growing into leadership

Individuals and the industry benefit when credit union executives undertake professional development.

by: Soma Sarkar

I’ve learned a lot about growth during my credit union career.

When I was hired in 1994 to fill a branch manager opening at the Credit Union of New Jersey, I was my CU’s 12th employee. Back then, CU of New Jersey had $42 million in assets and was a cash operation. Now, it has 99 employees, $317 million in assets and is a full-service financial institution.

As the credit union has grown, so has my role in it. Now I’m EVP/chief operations officer, overseeing all the CU’s retail branches, plus lending, compliance and a call center.

I think my plan to attend the three years of CUES’ CEO Institute is an important next step, not only toward my own professional growth and the future success of the credit union, but also the overall development of leaders for the future of the CU industry. I’m excited to begin next month by attending CEO Institute I at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

As credit union executives, we need to prepare ourselves and our peers as strong leaders to keep the movement going forward. With the number of credit unions shrinking and CEOs retiring, keeping qualified leaders at credit unions rather than leaving for banks or the insurance industry is important.

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