Meriwest CEO Announces Upcoming Retirement

CEO Christopher M. Owen to retire after 22 years of service.

SAN JOSE, CA (June 7, 2013) Meriwest Credit Union has announced that Christopher M. Owen, President and Chief Executive Officer will be initiating a transition plan to retirement late this summer.  Owen’s decision to retire will bring to close a remarkable career of 22 years of service with Meriwest Credit Union.

During Owen’s tenure, the credit union migrated from a single sponsor credit union serving primarily IBM employees to providing financial services within a multi community footprint. Through market and branch expansion, Meriwest assets quadrupled during Mr. Owen’s tenure to now exceed $1 Billion.   Additionally, under Mr. Owen’s leadership, accomplishments included:

  • the development of Meriwest’ s new progressive and innovative vision;
  • the implementation of a strong, proactive, customer services-oriented corporate culture;
  • significant growth in assets, services, infrastructure, markets, and members; and
  • the introduction of several strategic initiatives that includes the integration of electronic channels for account access and service

Meriwest’s Chairman, Charles Munch said “Chris’ leadership of Meriwest over the years has been impressive, reorganizing the company, delivering growth, and developing a clear forward strategy with a strong portfolio of new opportunities.  I and the Board of Directors greatly appreciate that Chris successfully navigated the credit union through unprecedented economic challenges and is now leaving Meriwest on solid financial footing”.

With Owen’s endorsement and support, the company’s board of directors has unanimously elected Julie Kirsch as the incoming President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Kirsch has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Meriwest Credit Union.

“For years, we’ve been working together to ensure that we have a strong and balanced Senior Management Team,” said Chris Owen. “Our succession planning is developed to ensure Meriwest remains a sound, healthy institution with relevant products that meet all the financial needs of our members. I believe this mission will be carried forward under Julie’s direction.”

Julie Kirsch has been an integral part of the Meriwest leadership team and has worked closely with Mr. Owen for a number of years to set the company’s strategic direction. In 1996, Kirsch was appointed Chief Operating Officer responsible for the management of Meriwest’ s Financial Services, Support Services, Lending, Marketing, Business Development and eBusiness divisions. Her further appointment to Executive Vice President was a critical step in the succession planning process.

About Meriwest Credit Union
Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley’s largest and established financial institutions, has been providing proactive, personal, convenient and innovative financial services to over 72,000 businesses and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona, since 1961. More information can be found at

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