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Reta Kahley Retires After 28 Years Serving Credit Unions
Thursday, December 15, 2016 7:00 AM

Reta Kahley

Most of you know that Arkansas Credit Union Association President Reta Kahley is retiring, effective Dec. 31, 2016. Kahley has led the association, formerly the Arkansas Credit Union League, for almost 16 years. 

But her journey began many years earlier. Kahley is a native Arkansan and grew up in a small town in Northeast Arkansas called Black Rock. She graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and attended graduate school at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Kahley kicked off her credit union career in 1988 at the Wyoming Credit Union League as the director of education and training. She was promoted to vice president in 1994 and worked for that league for nine years. She later became the VP of administration for Members Choice Credit Union in Houston, Texas, where she worked for 3–1/2 years overseeing training and education, human resources, facilities management, and security.

Returning to Arkansas for the Arkansas Credit Union League president’s job was a dream come true for her because it brought her home to her family and friends.

Kahley says she's made no specific plans for what she'll do when she retires. "We do want to do some traveling, and we’ve developed a travel bucket list, so we’re going to tackle that," she says. "I also want to play a lot of golf. Arkansas has a Natural State Golf Trail, so we want to try and play all the courses on the trail."

She and her husband Fritz will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary the day after her retirement, on Jan. 1. Over the years, the two have traveled, played golf, and raised five schnauzers. Right now, they have two one-year old schnauzer boys, Ollie and Bear. 

What she'll miss most about the job is the people. "Arkansas credit union people are the best in the world," Kahley says. "I’ve made friends that will last forever. And I will certainly miss Felicia and Skeeter. They have been awesome teammates serving Arkansas credit unions."

Kahley credits two standout mentors who have affected her career. "One of the most influential people in my credit union life was Wes Millar, who just recently retired from CUNA and Affiliates. He was my boss in Wyoming, and I learned so much from him," she says. "Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our Cornerstone leader, Dick Ensweiler. He has been a great mentor, especially in my early days as a league president. I owe them both a debt of gratitude."

Kahley is particularly fond of Arkansas credit unions. "It has been my pleasure to serve these wonderful people for almost 16 years," she says. "I can’t think of a more rewarding, exciting, or gratifying job in the world. I wake up in awe of them every day, and I will miss them so much as I move into the next phase of my life."

"I would like to express my thanks to Reta for the dedication and hard work that she has performed in service to credit unions," said SVP and Chief Advocacy Officer Jim Phelps. "I wish her all the best in the next exciting chapter of her life."  

“Reta has had a long and illustrious career in the credit union movement,” said Cornerstone President/CEO Dick Ensweiler. “She has been engaged at all levels and served the system very well. We are delighted that she accomplished all she did, and is now in a position to join her husband Fritz in retirement. We wish them all the best life has to offer.”