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Retired Cornerstone CEO Inducted into Cooperative Hall of Fame
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 7:00 AM

Dick Ensweiler

Retired president and CEO of Cornerstone Credit Union League, Richard "Dick" L. Ensweiler, will receive the cooperative community’s most prestigious honor on May 8, 2019, when he is inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, along with three other outstanding cooperative leaders.

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees reflect the very best co-op values,” said Rich Larochelle, chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation, which manages the Hall of Fame. "Their life stories inspire us. Their demonstrated commitment to co-op principles and their achievements have strengthened co-ops and made a real and lasting difference in the lives of people and the viability of communities."

Ensweiler’s legendary 50-year career in cooperative finance began in college, where he planned to score a career in basketball coaching. Instead, he took a summer job at State Central Credit Union. Soon he was a management trainee headed for the top position at Harley Davidson Credit Union.

In 1995, Ensweiler joined the Texas Credit Union League, now known as Cornerstone Credit Union League. Today, it’s the largest regional credit union trade association in the country.

Throughout his career, Ensweiler was a driving force behind credit union advocacy. He led the effort to build Credit Union House, a facility cooperatively funded by each of the 38 state credit union leagues. Located in the nation’s capital, Credit Union House is a critical hub for the industry’s advocacy work.

Ensweiler was also dedicated to extending the benefits of credit union membership to underserved markets. At the League, he created Juntos Avanzamos (“Together We Advance”), an outreach program focused on serving Texas’ Hispanic population. The Richard L. Ensweiler Fund was established to preserve his vision, enabling credit unions to earmark funds for the program. In 1999, Ensweiler even served as an advisor on then President-Elect Vincente Fox’s transition team, working to ensure that the Mexican community in the U.S. could transfer funds back to their families through credit unions at substantial savings.

Ensweiler also worked to broaden the scope of international credit union development. He spent time in Brazil studying credit union membership growth strategies, and, in 2008, received the World Council of Credit Unions’ Ambassador Award for his work to protect rural credit cooperatives in China.

In 2015, Ensweiler received WOCCU’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. In 2017, he was inducted into the Cornerstone Credit Union League Hall of Fame. Also in 2017, the new America's Credit Union Museum Library was renamed the Richard L. "Dick" Ensweiler Research Library in his honor. He left an indelible mark on cooperative finance, helping millions of Americans reach their financial goals. As an educator and mentor, he inspired generations of credit union professionals to embrace the cooperative principles at the root of the movement.

Additional inductees are Terry Appleby, retired general manager of Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society; Anne Reynolds, former executive director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Cooperatives; and Richard Stammer, retired president and CEO of Agri-Mark Inc. and Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

All of the inductees will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the evening of May 8, 2019.