Norris retires as President and CEO of SkyPoint FCU
After 12 years with SkyPoint FCU and 42 years in the credit union industry, Norris reveals the secret to his long list of accomplishments.
GERMAN TOWN, MD (March 9, 2023) — SkyPoint Federal Credit Union (SkyPoint), a premier, member-owned financial institution, announces that after 42 years of distinguished service to the credit union industry and 12 years dedicated to SkyPoint, President and CEO, James H. Norris III (Jim) plans to retire.
Norris steered SkyPoint through tough times as well as unprecedented growth. In just 12 years, SkyPoint’s net worth nearly quadrupled, from $7M to $27M.
Funds were tight in the 2011 post-recession economy, however, immediately upon being hired as CEO, Norris entered his business plan in a DC 100.3 radio promotion and won. The prize awarded them 900 free radio spots, including production and air time, worth $62,000.
In 2018, the credit union was still Montgomery County Employees FCU. Norris spearheaded their name change to SkyPoint that year as they earned Community Development Financial Institution designation and widened their membership to include residents of Maryland’s Montgomery and Frederick counties as well as Northern Virginia and DC. Norris became an advocate for underserved communities by garnering 5 CDFI grants of over $4.2M since 2018 and getting $7M in Secondary Capital as part of the Emergency Capital Investment Program in 2022.
Despite dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and low unemployment – all of which made it difficult to hire and retain employees – under Norris’ leadership SkyPoint’s assets more than doubled (from $79M to $210M) and member loans more than tripled (from $44M to $154M).
Norris began his career as Manager/CEO of the Mercy Hospital Employee FCU at the age of 22. From there, he was hired as the College Park Branch Manager/Branch Operations Manager of the State Employees CU of Maryland (SECU MD), then as VP of delivery systems at NIHFCU and CEO of the AFL-CIO CU.
During his career, Norris brought a number of innovative ideas to fruition. At SECU MD, he designed a 38-foot mobile branch that drove to underserved areas of the state with three employees and 2 ATMs on board. He designed new branches and oversaw moves to the new sites. Perhaps most memorably, he worked with the security officer to establish new security measures that helped solve an armed robbery attempt by five shotgun-tooting thieves, bringing their years-long crime spree to an end.
Continuing to innovate, Norris brought digital banking to NIHFCU in early 1998 just months after starting there. He brought early mobile banking to members in 2000 way before others would. Jim was also the lead in 2 headquarters moves in only 9 years there due to tremendous growth.
Reflecting on his 42-year career, Norris summed up:
“It’s been an honor to have had the opportunity to connect and work with so many fantastic people over the course of my career and together have an impact on our communities and members. While we’ve seen much evolution in the credit union industry over the last 42 years – specifically with technology – it’s the people I’ve worked with along the way that have really made the difference.”
Norris continued with what he believes is the secret to all that he has accomplished in his career:
“Something I learned early on and have always practiced is to listen to my employees’ ideas. I’m humbled by all that my teams and I together have been able to accomplish and thank them for their contributions and impact. I wish them much continued success and look forward to new experiences as I enter the next stage of my life.”
About SkyPoint Federal Credit Union
SkyPoint is one of the premier financial institutions serving Montgomery County, MD; Frederick County, MD; Arlington County, VA; Alexandria and Falls Church, VA; and the District of Columbia. SkyPoint is a Community Development Financial Institution and a designated Juntos Avanzamos credit union. To learn more, visit www.skypointfcu.com.