WASHINGTON—Seven credit union professionals who have made significant contributions to the credit union movement and to the advancement of African-Americans were inducted into the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) Hall of Fame Tuesday night.
The ceremony was held at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture here.
AACUC President Renee Sattiewhite said the latest group of “pioneers” to be inducted have made lasting contributions.
“The list of inductees is very impressive,” Sattiewhite told CUToday.info prior to the awards ceremony. “All of these extraordinary human beings have done so much for the credit Union industry. They have eclipsed how we view this movement and how we participate as individuals. These people have helped so many others within credit unions.”
Prior to Tuesday’s event, more than 40 people had been inducted into the AACUC Hall of Fame since it was introduced in 2015.
“The Hall of Fame is the brainchild of (former credit union CEO) Helen Godfrey-Smith,” said Sattiewhite. “She was the funding development chair who created the Hall of Fame.”
Godfrey-Smith addressed attendees during Tuesday’s ceremony.
“These inductees are trailblazers,” said Sattiewhite. “Some of these individuals—those inducted tonight and those who came before them—have in the past stepped into rooms to be the only African-American in the meeting. We’re all standing on their shoulders.”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, briefly addressed attendees Tuesday night. Waters applauded the work of AACUC and the group’s efforts to drive greater diversity, equity and inclusion among credit unions.
Below are the latest inductees with career profiles provided by the AACUC.
Timothy L. Anderson has a long history with the United States Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU), serving as the EVP and chief retail officer prior to assuming the role of president and CEO in 2019. He served on the USSFCU board of directors for over 15 years in various capacities, including as chairman of the board. He began his career with USSFCU as the branch manager of the flagship Hart Senate location.
“Tim possesses over 30 years of senior executive and management experience at large banks and credit unions. He was the CEO GPO FCU, a local credit union in Washington, D.C.; a position he held for eight years prior to becoming EVP at USSFCU,” AACUC noted.
Other positions include VP and COO at American Spirit Federal Credit Union; VP and COO at the Treasury Department Federal Credit Union; VP of operations at Equitable and Independence Banks; and AVP and financial center manager at BB&T and M&T banks in the Washington, D.C., area.
Carla Decker has been chief operating officer of IDB Global Federal Credit Union since November 2021. For the previous two decades, Carla served as president and chief executive officer of DC Federal Credit Union. “Under her leadership, the $80-million DCFCU expanded its service area and refocused its mission to become a national leader in financial inclusion and community development. Carla’s immigrant experience informed and energized DCFCU’s initiatives to address and advocate for the financial well-being of the local Hispanic community. For that work, Carla was named one of the 100 Most Influential People to the Hispanic Community by El Tiempo Latino.”
Melinda Edmunds is president/CEO of the Patent and Trademark Office Federal Credit Union in Alexandria, Va. With more than 30 years of credit union experience, her dedication, volunteerism, and leadership in the credit union movement continues to progress. She was a previous board member of AACUC for ten years and led the membership committee for several years. She is currently a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor. Edmunds earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Todd M. Harper was nominated to serve on the NCUA board on Feb. 6, 2019. The U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 14, 2019, and he was sworn in as a member of the NCUA board on April 8, 2019. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., designated him as the NCUA’s 12th Chairman on Jan. 20, 2021.
“As NCUA board chairman, Mr. Harper serves as a voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and represents the NCUA on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee,” AACUC noted.
Prior to joining the NCUA board, Mr. Harper served as director of the agency’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs and chief policy advisor to former Chairmen Debbie Matz and Rick Metsger. He is the first member of the NCUA’s staff to become an NCUA board member and chairman. Mr. Harper holds an undergraduate degree in business analysis from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a graduate degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Lois Kitsch is co-founder of CUDifference and has 40 plus years of credit union leadership experience.
“She inspires credit union leaders to live the values of the credit union movement to best optimize our cooperative structure to create and enhance business opportunities,” AACUC said. “For many years she served as the national program director of the National Credit Union Foundation’s Development Education program. Lois has worked with credit union leaders from six continents and more than 40 countries to help their movement leaders maximize the relationship between the credit union and its members.
“Lois has received many national and international awards including the Herb Wegner Award for Individual Achievement and Best Project, the Athena Award from the World Council of Credit Unions, the LifeTime Service award from both the Credit Union Development Education Program and the CUTE Foundation (Mindanao, Philippines), and the distinguished service award for ACCOSCA (continental trade association for Africa). Recently, Lois was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame for the American Credit Union Museum.”
George Ombado is a development economist with a keen interest on strategic management and discourse that shapes the developing countries to attain financial inclusion and access. He holds B.Com (Hons), M.A. (economics of development from Erasmus University in the Netherlands) and an MSC in management from Strathclyde Business School, U.K. He has 17 years of experience supporting financial inclusion and access initiatives.
“He currently serves as the executive director of the African Confederation of Co-operative Saving and Credit Association (ACCOSCA), an institution that supports the development of co-operative financial institutions in Africa,” the AACUC stated. “In this role he has spearheaded strategic planning for a number of financial co-operatives in Africa. George serves as a board member of the Africa Co-operative Development Foundation (ACDF) and the CADASTA Foundation. He is also the current director of Africa Development Educators Program and holds an I–CUDE designation.
“He is a part of the executive team providing leadership on a project funded by IFAD in Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia known as “Improving Rural Financial Inclusion through Financial Co-operatives,” in partnership with the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada and the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation. George has contributed to numerous financial publications, including in the International Co-operative Alliance Book: “The Capital Conundrum for Co-operatives” which was published and disseminated in October 2015.”
Michael Ray is currently the vice president of business development at PAHO/WHO Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C. For nearly six years, Michael was president and CEO of Georgetown Federal Credit Union until it merged with PAHO/WHO FCU in July 2021. Prior to joining Georgetown and later PAHO/WHO FCU, Michael worked for 26 years for Congressional FCU, the credit union that serves the members of Congress and staff of the House of Representatives.
“Michael is an International DE and has devoted efforts in working with credit unions throughout Africa for the last six years. He is a repeat speaker and trainer at conferences for ACCOSCA in Nairobi Kenya. Michael has also worked with credit union throughout Russia, on behalf of ACDI-VOCA between 2004 -2008 and has been associated with AACUC since 2001. Michael is a graduate from the University of Maryland and holds a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Bowie State.”
Click here for the full story and photos from Tuesday night’s event, including shots of some of the award winners, and photos from the CU Pride reception that preceded the Hall of Fame ceremony.