Celebrating International Credit Union Day: Empowering women in finance

SANDY, UT (October 19, 2023) — International Credit Union Day, observed annually on the third Thursday of October, is an important occasion that unites credit unions worldwide in celebration of their unique contributions to the financial landscape. This day goes beyond borders, emphasizing the cooperative spirit that defines credit unions and their dedication to fostering financial inclusion. This year, as we commemorate International Credit Union Day, let us shine a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of women in the credit union sector and explore the distinctive qualities that set credit unions apart.

Credit unions stand out for their commitment to gender diversity, a fact highlighted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), revealing that 51% of credit unions globally have female CEOs. This stark contrast to the 3% of female CEOs in traditional banks emphasizes the inclusivity and equality at the core of the credit union movement. The international credit union community has become a beacon for women in finance, with women holding 33% of credit union board positions, a testament to the industry’s dedication to providing equal opportunities at all levels.

Mountain America, the ninth largest credit union in the nation based on Callahan & Associates peer data, exemplifies this trend by empowering women leaders from the top ranks.  Notably, four out of the last seven executive leadership positions at Mountain America have been filled by women, further highlighting the credit union’s dedication to gender diversity and equality. These female executive appointments include Cathy Smoyer, executive vice president of technology and risk; Amy Moser, chief lending officer; Sharlene Wells, senior vice president of public relations and organizational communications; and Nanette Graviet, senior vice president of risk management.

Earlier this year the credit union named Cathy Smoyer executive vice president of technology and risk, a position that reinforces Mountain America’s ongoing commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive leadership team. Just this year, Smoyer was named Utah Business Magazine’s CXO of the year for her ability to innovate while mitigating risk in an ever-changing world of new challenges.

Sharlene Wells, senior vice president of public relations and organizational communication at Mountain America, is among those powerful women who recently joined the credit union’s leadership ranks. Wells has been breaking down barriers for women in the workplace since the start of her career as the third woman ESPN put on-air. She was most recently named one of the 2023 Women of the Year by Utah Business Magazine.

Amy Moser was appointed chief lending officer in 2021, after a 25-plus year long career spanning all aspects of lending, including home, commercial, and business. Moser’s strategic and member-focused approach has helped Mountain America become an industry leader and achieve record growth. She’s been previously named a Utah Business Magazine 30 Women to Watch and serves on the board of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association.

Nanette Graviet rose to the challenge when she accepted the role of senior vice president of governance, risk, and compliance. In this role, she works directly with Smoyer to oversee and execute Mountain America’s risk, compliance, and fraud programs. Graviet, an Army veteran, has more than 25 years’ experience in the credit union industry. She began her career as a branch manager and operations manager.

In addition to supporting women rising to the top, female employees outnumber their male counterparts and there is no income gap between genders at Mountain America. With more than 3,200 employees, the credit union offers fair compensation by position, regardless of gender.

The Cooperative Difference

International Credit Union Day is an opportune moment to reflect on the distinctive qualities that set credit unions apart. Unlike traditional financial institutions, credit unions operate on a cooperative model, where members are also owners. This fundamental difference fosters a people-first approach, prioritizing the financial well-being of members over profit margins. Credit unions exist to serve their members and the community, leading to a more personalized and member-centric banking experience.

Charting the Path Forward

International Credit Union Day serves as a rallying cry for continued progress in the credit union movement. As we celebrate this International Credit Union Day, let us collectively champion the cooperative spirit, honor the achievements of women in finance, and amplify the unique qualities that define credit unions. By embracing diversity, prioritizing members’ needs, and fostering financial empowerment, credit unions stand as beacons of positive change on the global stage. Together, we continue to build a future where financial inclusivity knows no bounds.

About Mountain America Credit Union

With more than 1 million members and $18 billion in assets, Mountain America Credit Union helps its members define and achieve their financial dreams. Mountain America provides consumers and businesses with a variety of convenient, flexible products and services, as well as sound, timely advice. Members enjoy access to secure, cutting-edge mobile banking technology, over 100 branches across six states and more than 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Mountain America—guiding you forward. Learn more at


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