C. Alan Peppers recognized for career of credit union leadership with 2016 Herb Wegner Memorial Award

Foundation recognizing Peppers with Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement

In recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as a leader in the credit union movement, his tireless advocacy for the movement and its issues, and his vigorous charitable efforts, the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is pleased to announce C. Alan Peppers, former President and CEO of Westerra Credit Union, as the recipient of a 2016 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

Peppers’ award will be one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by the Foundation at the Marriott Marquis Washington on February 22nd, 2016 in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s 2016 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Registration for dinner tickets and sponsorships will be available within the next month on the Foundation website (

“I had the opportunity to work with C. Alan Peppers during my tenure at the Credit Union National Association, and he was always viewed as a visionary leader,” said John Gregoire, Chair of the Foundation’s Wegner Awards Selection Committee and President of The ProCon Group. “Alan is someone who always took the responsibility of providing for his community seriously. Also, he has given a lot of himself to the credit union movement and been a very successful mentor to many.”

Fostering Growth and Success with a Member-Focused Philosophy

In a career spanning more than four decades in the credit union industry, Peppers has served in a number of key leadership roles, including 22 years as president and CEO of Westerra Credit Union. Peppers led Westerra through a period of incredible growth, quadrupling their membership and growing assets from $165 million to over $1.3 billion. Today, Westerra is one of the highest-performing credit unions in the state of Colorado and the United States as a whole.

Peppers’ success has been attributed to his members-first mentality, consistently striving to provide service that puts the convenience, peace of mind and satisfaction of members before all else. Under his leadership, Westerra was transformed into a full-service credit union and continually improved their offering to members by introducing innovative new features, such as cash services and electronic mobile banking. Peppers also ensured that Westerra was able to meet the needs of Denver’s diverse community, expanding their loan program and adding HARP mortgages for first-time home buyers.

Beyond these member-focused initiatives, Peppers has also worked to extend credit union services to as many people as possible, leading Westerra’s comprehensive membership expansion campaign. Peppers extended the membership eligibility of Westerra to all residents in the Denver-Metro area, and encouraged growth by implementing a program that rewards current members for referring new members. By facilitating key mergers with four other credit unions between 2005 and 2009, Peppers further expanded Westerra’s reach and greatly improved the quality of products, services and convenience they were able to offer.

“Before making any decisions, Alan asks what would be in the best interest of the members,” says Dr. Cynthia Stevenson, former superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools. “In leading the merger of our credit unions, it was apparent his mission was to ensure more people have access to credit union services, financial education and the other opportunities that credit unions can offer to members.”

A Uniting Force in the Credit Union Movement 

While Peppers’ executive career has been marked by incredible success, many of his biggest accomplishments have been in pursuit of unifying and strengthening the credit union movement as a whole. A firm believer in the value of cooperative principles, Peppers has belonged to and supported an incredible number of credit union associations.  He has served as chairman of both CUNA Mutual Group and the National Credit Union Foundation and been a member of numerous task forces and committees of Credit Union National Association.

As Chairman of the Colorado Credit Union League, Peppers achieved 100% affiliation for the first time in its history by demonstrating the importance of cooperation between fellow credit unions. In addition, he also drafted “United We Stand,” a comprehensive statement-of-purpose outlining the mission and ideals that credit unions strive for. This document, which drew support from credit unions throughout the state, also included standards of leadership for credit union volunteers, staff and members, creating a unified model for credit union action.

Peppers has played an instrumental role in the formation and implementation of several cooperative initiatives for Colorado’s credit unions. Among them was CU Link, a credit union owned ATM network that freed credit unions from bank-owned ATM systems. He also led the creation of Credit Union Service Centers, a chain of shared facilities for credit union members throughout Colorado, and with that spearheaded a policy for League members to earn up to 15% incentives on dues when they used services through the service corporation. These efforts enhanced the sense of community within Colorado’s credit unions and created a culture of cooperation between them.

“Alan has had a longstanding belief that preserving credit unions as an alternative to banks, and ensuring their competitiveness in the financial services marketplace, are important responsibilities—and these are accomplished through unity,” says Carroll D. Beach, former president of the Colorado Credit Union System. “Alan’s leadership has not only benefitted Colorado’s credit unions, but the movement as a whole.”

Bearing the Torch for Credit Unions Everywhere

Throughout his professional life, Peppers has fought tirelessly to build awareness for credit unions and advocate for their issues. Peppers regularly facilitates fundraisers for candidates that support the credit union movement, including leading the World Council of Credit Union’s People-to-People program, hosting annual receptions at various embassies in support of international credit union development.

When legislation was introduced last year to introduce taxation to credit unions, Peppers mobilized a campaign for credit union members to contact their representatives in opposition to the proposal and wrote a well-received article in The Denver Post to raise awareness of the taxation threat. He also supported The Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice and Operation Grassroots and is an active leader in CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference’s Hill Hikes.

Peppers also champions the credit union movement through financial education. At Westerra, Peppers directed staff members to visit schools and host engaging presentations on important topics such as savings, budgeting, credit and identity theft, and also offered financial literacy resources to schools for free. By liberally providing financial education to students, Peppers has raised awareness and excitement for the credit union movement among thousands of future members, encouraging them to get involved and invested in their credit unions.

“Alan is highly respected for his integrity, vision and passion,” says Rudy Hanley, retired President/CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. “He is a shining example of our movement, what it stands for, and the type of leaders we need to fulfill our mission.”

Committed to Helping People and Communities

Never losing sight of the core credit union principle of people helping people, Peppers has spent considerable time, energy and resources giving back to his members and their community. Two key examples of this are the college scholarship programs he started at the Colorado Credit Union League and Westerra Credit Union, which have provided essential funds to students attending universities or trade schools.

Peppers has led and participated in a number of key fundraising efforts for schools and non-profit organizations. He helped sponsor and staff the Colorado Credit Unions’ Courage Classic Bicycle Tour to benefit the Children’s Hospital in Denver and rode his bicycle 150 miles through the mountains during the event. Through a partnership Peppers spearheaded with the Colorado Rapids Soccer Community, Denver’s youth soccer players have their registration fees covered when they open an account at Westerra.

Peppers’ selfless service also extends to future credit union professionals. A passionate mentor, Peppers created a college internship program to help students gain experience in the credit union industry, meeting with students throughout the program and helping them learn about credit union issues and operations first-hand. This program has since been emulated by other credit unions.

Peppers serves in several community organizations, including the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Concern, the Daniels Foundation, the Denver Teachers Club and countless others. He also volunteers his time and money for charitable causes including Children’s Hospital and Center for Women’s Health Research.

“Alan’s leadership comes from a place of real caring and his heart is rooted in service,” says Scott Earl, President and CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association. “He has made a lasting impact on our entire credit union community—and the people we serve.”

C Alan Peppers

About the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards
The awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, whose tireless dedication, innovative ideas and deeds truly revolutionized the ways that credit unions serve their communities. The awards that bear Wegner’s name recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership. View past award recipients here.

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