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Tim Haegelin Wins Wegner Award for Lifetime Achievement
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:40 AM

Tim Haegelin

In recognition of his outstanding leadership and selfless commitment to the credit union industry, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is pleased to announce Tim Haegelin, retired president and CEO of Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, as one of three winners of the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement. This is the first time in NCUF’s history that three awards for Lifetime Achievement will be given.

“We received an unprecedented 17 candidates in the lifetime achievement category this year,” said John Gregoire, Chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and President of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis. “It was a tremendous group of candidates, which made it difficult for the Wegner Awards Selection Committee. Thank you to everyone who nominated someone for bringing such a great group forward.”

Haegelin’s award will be one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington Feb. 24 2014, which is Monday night of the Credit Union National Association’s 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference. Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the NCUF website.

“Tim’s list of achievements is outstanding,” said Gregoire. “He might not be a household name but his resume and body of work is so significant the Wegner Awards Selection Committee is proud to bring him forward as a Lifetime Achievement winner.”

Haegelin joined Generations FCU (then San Antonio City Employees FCU) in 1980 as associate manager, taking the helm as president and CEO in 1984. Prior to joining Generations, Haegelin served as president and CEO of Central Texas Catholic CU from 1967 to 1979 and worked with other credit unions prior to that time. When Haegelin retired in November of 2012, he had served the credit union industry for more than 49 years.

During his leadership and direction, Generations expanded from a credit union with one location with 14,000 members and $37 million in assets to 14 locations, 49,000 members and more than $400 million in assets.

Haegelin leveraged partnerships to enable Generations FCU to open co-located branches with the City of San Antonio at the airport and with Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, and one of the largest retailers in the community, H-E-B Grocery Stores.

Throughout this growth and expansion, Generations FCU continued to receive a five-star rating from Bauer Financial for 22 years with Haegelin at the helm. Furthermore, staff members have voted Generations FCU year after year as one of the “best places to work in San Antonio” by the San Antonio Business Journal and San Antonio Express-News. On a state-wide and national level, Haegelin has also mentored countless individuals who have gone on to be leaders within the credit union industry.

“Having worked for a couple of Savings & Loan Institutions, I had not been exposed to the ‘people helping people’ philosophy, but working under Tim, that changed quickly,” said Maria Martinez, president and CEO of Del Rio-based Border FCU and a former Generations FCU employee. “Under Tim's leadership, I learned to serve the underserved, to be involved in the community, to be charitable, and to partake in many events that benefited the less fortunate. He always set the example for us to follow.”

Within the community, Haegelin oversaw the launch of a pilot program with the City of San Antonio Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to offer a zero-interest, zero-fee alternative refund anticipation loan (RefundExpress) to ensure that the under-served and un-banked within the community were able to keep their annual tax returns out of the hands of predatory lenders.

Haegelin has also worked to establish a partnership with Goodwill Industries of San Antonio to assist the un-banked and under-served within the community. The partnership led Haegelin to oversee the development of Generations FCU’s OptionCheck checking account and MoneyExpress loan, which are products and services that are designed to break the significant hold that payday lenders have within the community. The partnership is considered a best practice and is currently being reviewed by Goodwill Industries for replication across the country.

Haegelin established a full-time financial education program in 1996, which has evolved over the years and provides financial education for consumers, youth and small businesses.

One of Haegelin’s most significant and lasting contributions comes from the non-profit he co-founded in 1986, Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids). Credit unions across the country participate in countless fundraisers year after year – and it all started with a phone call from Haegelin’s desk. In 1986, then-public relations director for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Hospital of San Antonio), Jack Finger, contacted Haegelin asking for assistance in raising funds among Generations FCU members for the hospital. Haegelin, determined to make a “go” of this partnership reached out to CEOs of credit unions across the city, asking for their participation, and in turn, setting up meetings between Finger and the necessary decision makers within those CUs. Haegelin “hounded the phone” for weeks, months and in some cases years, determined to make CU4Kids a local success. To date, nearly all of San Antonio’s 36 credit unions are supporters of CU4Kids. The CU4Kids model blossomed and grew so successful that it was launched on a nationwide level in 1996. At last count, CU4Kids has raised more than $100 million dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country.

Even after his retirement in late 2012, Haegelin still continues to volunteer with CU4Kids.

“While our organization greatly admires Tim’s vision and leadership, it his passion for children’s hospitals that stands out above all else,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network.

Always a proponent of technological advancement, Haegelin guided Generations FCU to many innovations later adopted by credit unions across the community. For instance, Generations FCU was the first credit union in San Antonio to offer checking accounts, debit cards, student checking without a co-signer (16-18 year-olds), electronic statements, electronic records management, shared branching, voice over IP, cash machines as vault teller, and the first to implement an electronic boardroom. Haegelin also launched one of the first high-tech, high-touch branches in the city - the fourth Generations FCU branch - in 2001. The new branch brought together several technologically advanced features for the first time, including Remote Tellers Systems, a biometric entry safe deposit box vault, and a unique teller pod serving both lobby and drive-thru. Many credit unions throughout San Antonio now use these same technologies in their own branches.

“Tim has spent more than 49 years leading his credit union and others towards doing the right thing for members and the community,” said Dick Ensweiler, CEO of the Cornerstone Credit Union League.