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Harriet May, Retired GECU CEO, to be Inducted into Cooperative Hall of Fame
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 6:35 AM

Harriet May
Harriet May

Harriet May, retired president and CEO of El Paso-Texas, based GECU is one of four cooperative leaders who will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. May 7, 2014.

May began her credit union career as a teller, quickly rising through the ranks to become CEO of the now $2 billion in assets credit union in 1996. During her tenure, May led GECU to become El Paso’s largest independently-owned financial institution, employing more than 700 employees and serving more than 300,000 members.

May has been a standout cooperative leader at the state, national, and international levels. She led the charge to make home ownership available to lower income, minority members of her west Texas community by helping to establish an Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization. The CUSO’s results have been dramatic, yielding over 732 workshops, 10,700 of participants, 16,200 of first-time savings accounts opened, 8600 of families provided housing counseling, 73,372 tax returns prepared free under the VITA program, $8 million in total down payment assistance, and $23 million in total mortgage loans.

May was also an innovator in the area of financial literacy (she even participated in a panel discussion with the President of the United States) and she worked across the border with Mexican officials in order to put in place a system of affordable remittance services. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has looked to May in the past to valiantly defend the tax status of the U.S. credit union movement.

May retired in March 2012 and has been the recipient of the highest honors of individual achievement from both the US and international credit union movements including the Herb Wagner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement and the World Council of Credit Unions Distinguished Service Award. She also received the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s prestigious Hall of Fame award in 2012.

“The roster of the Cooperative Hall of Fame tells the story of the U.S. cooperative community through the lives and accomplishments of extraordinary individuals. Induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made genuinely heroic contributions to the cooperative community,” said Gasper Kovach, Jr., board chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) which administers the Hall of Fame.