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CU Champion Florence Rogers Inducted to Cornerstone Hall of Fame Award
Friday, April 8, 2016 7:00 AM

040816_pic_hall_of_fame_award_winner_florence_rogers.jpg

Wednesday evening, during the 2016 Annual Meeting, Cornerstone Credit Union League held a special awards dinner for the many deserving professionals in the region whose good works positioned them for honor and recognition. For 2016, Cornerstone CEO Dick Ensweiler and Tinker FCU CEO Mike Kloiber presented the Hall of Fame award to retired president of Federal Employees Credit Union, Florence Rogers.

Rogers, who dedicated more than 34 years (1963–1997) to credit unions and credit union members, received glowing nominations. Allegiance Credit Union/Federal Employees Credit Union CEO Lynette Leonard said, "Florence has a personality that radiates her concern for others. She went above and beyond to establish close relationships with members."

"FECU grew steadily under the leadership of Florence from 1971 to 1997," Leonard said, "reaching total assets of nearly 80 million upon her retirement. A culture of providing a high level of member service and offering a full spectrum of options to meet member's financial needs was established and is still our expectation to this day."

Leonard spoke about the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City terrorist attack, when a truck-bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building where the credit union had been located. The blast left 168 people dead and hundreds more injured. Rogers was in the conference room with 18 of her staffers when the explosion occurred, and she was the only one to survive.

Perhaps Florence's greatest accomplishment was guiding FECU through the difficult challenges following the tragedy, Leonard noted. "Her leadership was instrumental in ensuring the survival of Federal Employees Credit Union."

"The credit union was truly a family atmosphere," Leonard recalled, "and members felt the loss of friends on that tragic day. Even 20 years later, we have members ask about Florence and how she is doing. This shows the impact she made on individual lives in truly living out the credit union philosophy of people helping people."

Rogers wrote in the June 1995 newsletter, "Perhaps the eagle on our logo should be the Phoenix instead. Like that great bird of legend, Federal Employees Credit Union will rise from the ashes." With her leadership, Leonard said, they did.

Bob Bianchini, former president/CEO of the Oklahoma Credit Union League, said he was delighted at the news of Rogers' entry into the Cornerstone Hall of Fame. "I've known Florence since 1994, when as chair of the Oklahoma League board she offered me the opportunity to come to work for the credit unions of Oklahoma," he said. "Not only was Florence a skilled and effective credit union CEO, she was an inspirational industry leader."

"After the Murrah tragedy and the personal losses Florence suffered, she was a beacon of healing for our credit union family," Bianchini said. "She traveled the country telling the Murrah story and the way credit unions across Oklahoma came together to comfort and support those who were affected by the tragedy. Florence nearly lost her life, but she never lost her credit union spirit, and I don't know of anyone who deserves to be in the Cornerstone CU League Hall of Fame more than Florence Rogers."

Oklahoma Employees Credit Union President/CEO Mark Kelly called Rogers the "Mom of the Oklahoma Credit Unions."

"From the first time you meet Florence, you are charmed by her outgoing personality, her professionalism, and her unbelievable sense of humor," Kelly said. "Having served with Florence on various boards, I've seen what a mentor she was and what a great ambassador she is for the State of Oklahoma."

"When I look at Florence," Kelly said, "I see what a true leader looks like. Those that were lost didn't look at her as a boss, but rather as a friend, a mentor, and to the younger employees, as a second mom. Her professionalism in good and bad times will always be top of the class."

Former president of the Oklahoma Credit Union League, Robert W. Taylor, first met Rogers in 1966 when she was employed at the Capitol Credit Union in Oklahoma City. She served as a volunteer and active member of state and national credit union organizations, as a chapter officer, and as a member of the Oklahoma Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association board of directors. She was the first woman chair of the Oklahoma Corporate board of directors.

"After my retirement as president of the Oklahoma Credit Union League, I ran for a position on the league board," Taylor said. "I chose Florence to make my nominating speech because I knew that no one in Oklahoma credit unions was held in higher esteem. I have known and admired Florence for 50 years, and I am proud to call her my friend."

The Cornerstone Credit Union League Hall of Fame was created to honor those in the credit union movement who reflect a rich history of service to credit unions through their chapters, their league and, in some cases, the Credit Union National Association. Individuals receiving this prestigious award are viewed as pioneers in the credit union movement. Florence Rogers more than qualifies for this distinction, and we at Cornerstone congratulate her for her service to the credit union movement and for being inducted into the Hall of Fame.