Western Federal Credit Union appoints new CEO for next phase of growth and expansion

TORRANCE, CA (November 11, 2015) — Western Federal Credit Union’s Board of Directors announced today that Gordon M. Howe has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. After nearly 22 years as CEO, John Bommarito has agreed to step down and will remain with Western in an advisory capacity until his official retirement.

The appointment of Gordon Howe as CEO is aligned with Western’s longstanding tradition of promoting from within, and the result of a long-term succession plan to develop Howe as Bommarito’s successor. “With advancements in technology and rising member expectations, we recognize the importance of having strong continuity of leadership to support an exceptional member experience across all channels,” said Chairman of the Board, Lloyd Mistele, expressing the Board’s support for Bommarito’s successor. “We are confident in Gordon’s vision and strategy for sustainable growth, as well as his ability to develop and inspire an exceptional team. His passion for innovation, proven leadership skills, and commitment to providing superior member service make him the perfect candidate to take Western to the next level.”

Howe joined Western after serving as CEO of Santa Ana Federal Credit Union for two years and Schools First Federal Credit Union for 16 years in several high level positions, including heading up their Information Technology division. Recruited to Western in 2005 by Bommarito, Howe served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer until his appointment in 2013 as President.


“I look forward to this amazing opportunity and expanding upon the foundation which John Bommarito has built,” said CEO Gordon Howe. “Whether we are utilizing our resources to create more value-added products and services or building our organizational capabilities to better serve members nationwide, every decision made will be in the hopes of exceeding our members’ service expectations, saving them money and improving their lives.”

An active proponent and participant in the succession plan that led to Mr. Howe’s appointment, Bommarito began his credit union career with the legacy TRW Systems Credit Union in 1980 as Accounting Supervisor. Rising through the ranks, in 1994 he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. From there, Bommarito led the Credit Union on a journey of tremendous growth and success. In 2003, he spearheaded the largest merger-of-equals in credit union history when TRWSFCU and Western FCU joined forces, amassing over $1 billion in assets. More mergers and acquisitions followed, taking Western into multiple states to serve its employer sponsors locally. In 2007, he navigated a merger with Toyota Federal Credit Union, bringing one of the world’s largest automakers into Western’s field of membership. Thus, what began as a single-sponsor, state-chartered Credit Union, under his leadership evolved into a nearly $2.2 billion, federally chartered, multiple-sponsor organization serving the needs of a diverse and growing membership of more than 185,000. During his tenure, the network of four branches in California blossomed to nearly 50 branches across 14 states.

A staunch guardian of the Credit Union through a number of significant recessions, Bommarito was instrumental in protecting the organization’s safety and soundness, earning consistently high ratings from the regulator and even higher ratings in service satisfaction among members. “Throughout John’s years of service, he was both a tireless protector of the Credit Union as well as a strong proponent of growth. He always put members first while, early on, developing and executing our strategic model of serving diverse sponsor groups nationwide. This is his legacy and vision of the future, which we wholeheartedly embrace,” said Chairman, Mistele.

About UNIFY Financial Credit Union

UNIFY Financial Credit Union is one of the nation’s leading credit unions, with more than $3 billion in assets and over 265,000 members across the country. UNIFY has branches nationwide, with regional offices located in Torrance, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Mesa, Arizona; and Allen, Texas. Please visit for more information.


Media Contact:
Jeanne Ouellette
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