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Credit Union Veteran Joe Wasaff Retires
Monday, April 18, 2016 6:55 AM

Long-time credit union champion Joe Wasaff has retired after 25 years as CEO of America's Credit Union and 45 years in the credit union movement. And how did he go out? Just like he promised.

People who know the 78-year-old best noted that Wasaff had always insisted he would tell his staff he was retiring on the day he planned to leave. He announced to his staff on March 9 that he was retiring that day, and, as vowed, he had packed and left the credit union at 5 p.m.

Succeeding Wasaff as president and chief executive officer is Rebecca McCoy, who had been SVP strategic development at ACU since 2009. She also previously served many years at the New Jersey Credit Union League and the Texas Credit Union League (now Cornerstone) and for 23 years owned a consulting firm that served credit unions through the nation.

McCoy said, "Joe’s legacy with credit unions dates back to 1970, when he took over leadership of the Human Resource Development Department at the Texas Credit Union League. During that time, he was known nationally for his innovative and future-oriented thinking, particularly in areas related to training in the then-new science of Asset Liability Management."

"He also was instrumental in founding the Southwest CUNA Management School and was responsible for the education and development of many of the state’s leaders and retired leaders," McCoy added.

Wasaff left Texas Credit Union League in 1990 to work with credit unions as a consultant in strategic planning and other areas, but was soon invited to join the staff of the Kraft Employees Credit Union, which is now America’s Credit Union. He became president when Fern Cook retired.

McCoy expanded on Wasaff's history. "When Joe started here, this credit union had $40 million in assets and fewer than 5000 members," she said. "Springfield and the home office were the only branches. There were only about 17 employees total. Today ACU stands at $235 million in assets, about six times the size it was when Joe arrived."

The credit union currently has about 25,000 members, served by 68 employees at four primary branches and two mini-branches. McCoy notes that their asset quality is well above peer credit unions, and they have more than $30 million in equity.

"Without Joe’s knowledge and imagination," said McCoy, "the credit union might have been slow to embrace the technological changes that have transformed the financial industry in the last 20 years. Without his determination, ACU would likely have weakened when the credit union faced changes and economic adversity. Without his vision of what could be done in concert with our merger partners, ACU would not be one of the strongest credit unions in this area."

Wasaff may not be attending to the day-to-day needs of the credit union anymore, but he will remain connected by serving as the treasurer on the America's Credit Union board of directors.