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Cornerstone and Resources Boards Announce the Hiring of New President/CEO
Thursday, January 5, 2017 7:00 AM

Caroline Willard

The Cornerstone Credit Union League and Credit Union Resources boards of directors have selected Caroline Willard as the next president and CEO of the Cornerstone Credit Union League and its subsidiaries, Credit Union Resources and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation.

Willard currently serves as executive vice president of Markets and Strategy for CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and will continue in that role until she assumes her full-time duties with Cornerstone in April 2017.

“Having spent the last 10 years at the nation's largest CUSO, it is an honor to be given the opportunity to serve credit unions at one of the largest leagues in the country,” explains Willard. “This role will give me a chance to tap into what I have learned at both CO-OP Financial Services and at American First Credit Union, where I served on the executive team for five years.

“I am excited to work with Cornerstone's board and management team to aggressively advocate on behalf of credit unions and to find innovative ways to improve service delivery as we navigate a changing environment for advocacy and collaboration.”

Willard expects to use her expertise and passions to build upon Cornerstone’s strength, reputation, and relevance to its credit union members and the entire credit union system.

Willard’s vision includes positioning Cornerstone as an influencer at the national level to create better efficiencies in serving a changing credit union marketplace, ensuring Cornerstone and its subsidiaries are delivering relevant services that provide a meaningful return to the association and its members, building upon Cornerstone’s legislative and grassroots advocacy efforts so they can serve as a model for leagues across the country, and ensuring that the value proposition for Cornerstone and CUNA are clearly differentiated. 

Willard will replace current Cornerstone President/CEO Richard L. Ensweiler who announced in December 2015 his plans to retire at the end of April 2017, following more than 20 years of service to credit unions at the Texas Credit Union League and the Cornerstone Credit Union League. Ensweiler was instrumental in the consolidation of the Arkansas Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma, the Texas Credit Union League, and the various subsidiaries to form the nation’s largest regional association, the Cornerstone Credit Union League, in July 2013. Ensweiler is retiring after serving in various regional and national capacities within the credit union system for more than 50 years.

“We are thrilled with the association and business prospects for Cornerstone and Credit Union Resources under Caroline’s leadership,” says Cornerstone Board of Directors Chairman Kenny Harrington, also president/CEO of MemberSource Credit Union, Houston, Texas. “Cornerstone is one of the strongest leagues in the country, and we believe Caroline’s leadership, background, expertise, and vision for the future will provide Cornerstone member credit unions with even more value and enriched products and services for their membership.”

Resources, a fully owned subsidiary of Cornerstone, provides industry-leading solutions and expertise to credit unions across the country and will benefit immeasurably from Willard’s experience in delivering business solutions that match the needs of credit union staff, boards of directors, and members.

“Credit Union Resources is a significant contributor to the credit union system through its relationships with system partners and the products and services delivered by Resources staff to credit unions,” says Resources Board of Directors Chairman Mike Kloiber, also president and CEO of Tinker Federal Credit Union, Oklahoma City, Okla. “We are really excited about the thought leadership Caroline will bring to Resources as it delivers solutions that support the success and growth of credit unions across the country while also exploring opportunities to benefit and grow the influence of credit unions in an evolving financial services landscape.”

Willard has served in various capacities with CO-OP Financial Services since 2006. Prior to joining CO-OP, Willard was vice president for marketing and strategic planning with American First Credit Union, La Habra, Calif., with $700 million in assets, from 2001 to 2006. She has a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University School of Business and Management, and a Bachelor of Arts in communications/public relations from California State University, Fullerton.

Willard currently serves as a board member for Finivation Software and CUES. She was named a “Woman to Watch” by Credit Union Times in 2012 and has previously served as the chairman for the CUES national board of directors; an advisory member for the Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles’ Credit Unions for Kids program; a board member for the Southern California and Arizona CUES Council; and a member of the California Credit Union League Political Action Committee.

The announcement of Willard followed an extensive national search, supported by Resources’ Executive Search division and a selection committee made up of Cornerstone member credit union executives.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League is the nation’s largest regional credit union trade association, serving more than 540 credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Cornerstone exists to advance the success of credit unions in the region through legislative and grassroots advocacy; regulatory and compliance support; training, educational, and networking opportunities; essential communications related to the news and information affecting the credit union industry; growing awareness of credit unions among consumers; and other products and services that establish Cornerstone as the essential partner for credit unions.

Credit Union Resources is a service corporation that provides industry-leading solutions and expertise to credit unions across the country. Credit Union Resources is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, a regional trade association representing the interests of credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.