Rich Harris is retiring after 38 years of leadership

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, CA (March 5, 2024) — After a distinguished 38-year tenure at Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union (CEFCU), President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Harris will retire on April 1, 2024.

As the longest-serving CEO in CEFCU’s history, Rich has exemplified unwavering dedication, passion, and profound leadership, strategically steering the Credit Union towards consistently providing unsurpassed financial value and member service. Under his leadership, assets have grown from $92 million in 1986 to over $2 billion today.

During his tenure, Rich has implemented operational and financial improvements for the organization’s sustainability and stability. He has opened new office locations and diversified the Credit Union’s products and services, all the while staying true to the exclusive Caltech field of membership and unique business model that serves the best financial interest of its member/owners. Additionally, his pioneering initiative, “Massive Action”, has set the standard for exceeding member service excellence, ensuring CEFCU’s position as the valued and trusted choice for its 38,000 members.

Rich’s service and vision have been instrumental in earning CEFCU widespread acclaim in both the industry and the community. Within the industry, Rich generously devoted his time and expertise to the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), being elected to serve as a Board Member three times by NAFCU member credit unions from the Western United States, spanning the years 2010 to 2019. His contributions reached new heights when he assumed the role of Chairman of the NAFCU Board in 2017 and 2018, steering the organization through a progressive and positive period in both the organization and the industry. While serving NAFCU, Rich was a fervent advocate for credit unions, diligently building and maintaining pivotal relationships with top lawmakers, regulators, and administration officials, focusing on federal advocacy, tax exemption, and compliance assistance.

On a local scale, Rich demonstrated a profound commitment to community service and sponsor relations. He actively served volunteer leadership positions with the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and the Crescenta Valley (Los Angeles County) Sheriff’s Support Group, earning him the recognition of the Kiwanis Club’s prestigious “La Cañadan of the Year” award. He also supported several Caltech initiatives, including the Caltech Y, The Caltech Associates, Caltech Public Events, and TEDxCaltech: The Brain.

“Rich’s vision and foresight guided CEFCU through historic challenges and great opportunities over the years. His invaluable contributions have had a transformative impact on CEFCU’s growth, enabling us to reach new heights while staying true to our core values,” said Steve Proia, CEFCU Board Chair. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude for his leadership, vision, and tireless efforts, which have guided our organization toward the success it enjoys today.”

Rich Harris will retire after a distinguished 38-year tenure at CEFCU.

About Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union

Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union (CEFCU) is headquartered in La Cañada Flintridge with more than 37,000-member accounts and assets over $2 billion. CEFCU was established in 1950 by  seven employees in a small office on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory facilities. Today, CEFCU has 75  employees and four branch offices. Their locations are at 528 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge;  behind the secured gates of JPL; on Caltech’s campus; and, a Real Estate Loan Center at 801  Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge. CEFCU serves an exclusive field of membership which is open to the California Institute of  Technology community and its affiliate organizations. This includes eligible employees, registered  volunteers and students of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Jet Propulsion  Laboratory (JPL), The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, Polytechnic School,  Child Educational Center (CEC) and members of other Caltech and JPL based clubs and  organizations. Immediate family of a current member is also eligible for membership. CEFCU provides a wide-range of real estate and consumer loans, as well as convenient account  access through eBranch (online access system), mobile app, ATMs, along with a Drive-Up Teller at  the La Cañada office. Members can apply for a consumer or real estate loan online. Our team of dedicated employees are ready to assist members in-person or on the phone through a loan  request, processing of a loan payment, issuing a check, or assisting in online account access. Unlike many other financial institutions, CEFCU does not exist to simply grow profits. Every savings  possible is passed along to members in the form of higher savings dividends and lower loan rates.  Loan options include new and used vehicles, Mastercard®, personal loans and lines of credit, share secured, first and second trust deeds, and home equity lines of credit. Learn more at


Ally Hacobian Ruelas
Marketing & Development Specialist
(800)592-3328 ext.651

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