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Succession Plans Play Key Role as United FCU's CEO and Chairman Retire after Decades of Service to CUs
Thursday, May 7, 2015 6:45 AM

Gary Easterling, President/CEO

Gary EasterlingUnited Federal Credit Union has announced that its president and CEO, Gary Easterling, is planning to retire in late 2015. Easterling joined UFCU as president/CEO in 2007 after enjoying a variety of senior-level positions elsewhere in the credit union industry. His distinguished career with credit unions has spanned 32 years. 

As part of a detailed plan that has been reviewed and approved by UFCU’s board of directors, Easterling will remain at the helm of UFCU until his successor has been identified.

“UFCU’s board is extremely grateful to Gary for the leadership he has provided to the credit union," said UFCU Vice Chairman Mike Hildebrand. "Under his leadership, the credit union has made great strides in bringing new services to our members and in achieving the kind of growth that will ensure the company’s stability and soundness for years to come.”

Easterling's volunteer activities have included the Harbor Habitat Development Committee, Michigan Credit Union League, Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Southwest Michigan, and Michigan's Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council. He plans to continue to represent the credit union in his current volunteer activities.

Of his planned departure, Easterling said, “Succession planning for senior roles here at the credit union is a regular, ongoing activity between our leadership team and our board. So, it’s not unusual for us at UFCU to know years in advance when someone in a director or officer position might plan to move on. By announcing my plans now, I can give our board the opportunity to seek my successor in a transparent way that provides for the smoothest possible transition.”

Hildebrand explained, “Gary shared his retirement objectives plans with the board almost a year ago, and so we have been collaborating closely with him on our planning calendar. This announcement is part of that plan and clears the way for us to move ahead with a selection process that includes current employees of UFCU as well as external candidates. The board has retained the services of DDJ Myers, an executive recruitment firm specializing in the credit union industry, to assist us in this process.” He added, “The board has complete confidence in Gary. His expertise and accomplishments speak for themselves, and we will rely heavily on his leadership as we work to find his successor.”

J.B. Hoyt, Chairman of the Board

J.B. HoytUnited Federal Credit Union (UFCU) announced that its chairman, J.B. Hoyt, will also be retiring from the credit union’s board of directors. Hoyt, a 28-year veteran of the credit union’s volunteer board of directors, announced his intentions to retire as the next step in a multi-year plan that he introduced to the board two years ago aimed at advancing their management and governance capabilities. Hoyt will retire effective June 30, 2015.

At the time of his announcement, Hoyt transferred his responsibilities as chairman to Mike Hildebrand, UFCU’s vice chairman.

Mr. Hildebrand said, “I am honored to assume these responsibilities during this transitional period. I want to extend my thanks to J.B. Hoyt for his nearly three decades of service to UFCU and for the many, many contributions he made to setting the direction for the credit union. J.B. Hoyt played a key role in leading UFCU to growth, better service to members and industry recognition. It is precisely because of J.B.’s far-reaching vision and planning to improve this board’s effectiveness that we are now in a position to move ahead with further evolving the board’s mission and methods.”

During his tenure as a director and his nearly six years as chairman, Hoyt helped lead the credit union to an expansion in scale from $90 million in assets to over $1.8 billion today—a twentyfold increase. Similarly, UFCU has grown from four branches to nearly 30 across in six states. Hoyt’s approach put UFCU’s members’ needs first; expansions in operations were always aimed at growing the credit union’s product and service offerings and improving convenience. 

Hoyt’s tenure led to a number of firsts for UFCU and the credit union industry. Picking up the reins as chairman to carry on the vision of John Steinke and the board, Hoyt successfully oversaw the culmination and final integration of the then-largest voluntary credit union merger in U.S. history. 

Hoyt’s personal impact on UFCU also included the first acquisition of a bank by a federally chartered credit union, industry recognition in 2013 as National Federal Credit Union of the Year, Michigan Outstanding Credit Union of the Year, and UFCU’s recent ranking in the Top 100 U.S. credit unions as measured by assets.

When asked about his motivations to serve as a director, Hoyt said, “I first became interested in the credit union as a member. It was a place where you were treated as a person, not as a number. Later, in 1987, I joined the board to make a personal contribution to improving member service. I thought I’d serve for just a few years, but the challenges of the financial services industry and UFCU held my interest and gave me new ways to deepen my contributions, year after year.”

Regarding his decision to end his service to UFCU, Hoyt said, “I’m very pleased with how the other directors have supported the initiative that I introduced two years ago to evolve the board into an even higher performing team. With the progress we have already made as part of that plan, I concluded that now was a good time for me to open up my board seat in order to bring in more diversity of experience and thought to UFCU’s board at an even faster rate.”

United Federal Credit Union has served its members since 1949 by helping them to build a sound financial future. UFCU consists of more than 130,000 member/owners worldwide and manages assets in excess of $1.8 billion. Its corporate offices and main branch are located in St. Joseph, Michigan, with additional branches in Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio.