Bert Hash Jr. Black history month spotlight
COLUMBIA, MD (February 19, 2021) —
In a recent interview with former CEO of MECU Credit Union, Bert Hash Jr., we learned about his impact on the credit union industry, career journey, and advice for credit union professionals.
Mr. Hash was born in North Carolina, but migrated with his family to Aberdeen, MD where he graduated from high school in the last segregated graduating class. He then headed to Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he majored in Business Administration and minored in Economics. He also met his wife there, who he’s been married to for over 50 years.
After graduation he was encouraged to work in the financial industry at a job fair, he took a leap of faith and has never looked back.
Hash says he was always good with numbers and knew he wanted to be in charge. He went on to lead and manage two banks for 27 years, developing an expertise in the secondary mortgage market, and mortgage-backed securities. He learned how to be an income producer and was skilled at teaching others how to do the same. His success led him to MECU Credit Union where he served as the CEO for 18 years.
When he arrived at MECU Credit Union in 1996, there were 61 employees, 50,000 members, no computers, and no ATM’s. He recalls seeing lines out the door daily to receive assistance from the branch. Hash credits his Board of Directors at the time who trusted him and allowed him to lead MECU. He also understood the importance of cultivating a strong team where everyone knew the goals of the credit union to contribute no matter their title or position.
Under his leadership ATM’s were ordered, cash was being distributed to members for the first time, computers were installed, and 13 branches were opened, two of which were student run. Hash also partnered with other banks to utilize their ATM’s, making it easier for members to access their money wherever they were. During his 18 years at MECU, Hash grew the credit union from $435 million to $1.4 billion in assets.
“Culture eats strategy for lunch every day”
Hash says, you can be as strategic as you want but if you don’t have a strong team, goals will not be accomplished. Everyone should be involved in understanding what’s happening within the credit union, no matter what their position within the credit union is.
Hash’s advice to minorities who may be the only one in a room full of leaders?
Know who you are and focus on diversity of thought and what you can add to the goals at hand.
What advice would you give African American women and men who aspire to one day be a CEO at a credit union?
Respect everyone, get involved, go to the meetings, let people get to know you, and put yourself out there. Get to know other people at other credit unions and get involved in events outside of work as much as possible.
Success as a CEO
Encompasses getting involved with committees and events at your association and involving your staff as well. You have to invest in your staff and educate them, so they can continue to progress in their careers and move your credit union forward.
About MD|DC Credit Union Association
The MD|DC Credit Union Association invites its members and industry partners to explore the new website, take advantage of available resources, and connect with the Association. Bratsakis added, “By leveraging the enhanced functionality and user-friendly design of the new
website, member credit unions can access the information they need to drive growth and
For more information about the MD|DC Credit Union Association and to explore the new
website, please visit www.mddccua.org.