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Harriet May Receives ‘Helping Hands’ Award
Monday, April 22, 2013 6:20 AM


Retired GECU President and CEO Harriet May has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” award. The award is the highest honor presented by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation). 

The "Helping Hands" award was established in remembrance of Annie Wilma Vamper, the Federation's late associate director. Her lifelong dedication to the credit union movement is an inspiration to many low- and moderate-income communities nationwide, and the award continues her legacy by recognizing individuals whose selfless work goes above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying CDCU values. 

"Harriet embodies the spirit of the Annie Vamper award, having dedicated her career to serving low-income individuals and families in her own community. She continues this work on a national level sharing her mission, vision and know-how with credit unions all over the country," said Federation President and CEO Cathie Mahon.  

May has made it her career and personal commitment to improve the financial lives of individuals, not only in El Paso, but throughout the world. A native El Pasoan, she worked her way through college at a local bank, and in 1974, she moved to GECU, where she launched a career that would have a tremendous impact on the credit union movement.   

In 1996, May was elected president and CEO of GECU. During her tenure, Harriet led the credit union to become El Paso's largest independently owned financial institution with over $1.8 billion in assets and more than 720 employees serving over 300,000 member-owners - more than doubling its size in her 15 years as CEO. Under her leadership, it has been estimated that GECU deployed approximately $125 million into the community each year. 

She was also active with the El Paso Chapter of Credit Unions, having served as its president and was one of the founding members of the El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization.   

May’s commitment to her community and to the credit union movement has been recognized by her peers time and time again. In 2012, she received the Texas Credit Union League’s prestigious Texas Credit Union Hall of Fame award. In 2008, she received the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. She was also awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the World Council of Credit Unions in 2009 and 2010. And she was recognized for her leadership in supporting the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in February 2010. 

May will receive her award at a special ceremony June 7, during the Federation's 2013 Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD.  For more information about the conference please visit the Federation's website at: