Jim Drogue to retire: attend Convention to wish him well!
Jim had spent almost 25 years in lending and
management for what was then Commonwealth Credit Union in Sun Prairie,
just around the time it merged with Summit CU in 2001. He decided he was
ready for a change in direction in the fall of 2001 when he accepted a
position at The League as its Senior Consultant.
In that role, Jim consulted with credit unions with assets below $1 million as well as those with over $500 million on every issue imaginable. He became VP of League Operations in 2002 and has served since then as The League's liaison to the Office of Credit Unions and NCUA, the state and federal credit union regulators.
But in 2004, Jim's responsibilities –
and contacts throughout the CU system- expanded beyond his imagination.
As The League's VP of Credit Union Development, he worked with the
Filene Research Institute to launch in Wisconsin what is now the
nationwide REAL Solutions initiative.
The effort began by helping credit unions implement alternatives to predatory check cashing services, but grew to help credit unions improve member wealth-building, financial education, community service and outreach to unbanked and financially underserved groups, including young adults and new Americans. Over the next nine years, Jim engaged Wisconsin credit unions in:
"Jim's leadership helped broaden the scope of
REAL Solutions to capture the breadth of value credit unions provide as
not-for-profit, member-owned co-ops," said
League President & CEO Brett Thompson. " In so doing, it has become
the framework within which credit unions nationwide share best
practices for outreach and
equip Activists with success stories and outcome data that drives
credit union advocacy."
Guided by the National Credit Union Foundation,
REAL Solutions now involves credit unions in 40 states and saves more
than $6 billion in annual benefits for America's 96 million credit union
"Wisconsin has always been the
epicenter of the credit union movement, with CUNA, CUNA
Mutual Group, the World
Council of Credit Unions, the Filene
Research Institute and
now Credit Union House, all in Madison," Jim said. "Wisconsin credit unions have
always strived to work with these organizations, collaborate, and set
new standards for member service. It has been my honor simply to be part
Jim also cited the rapid
growth of Wisconsin's Young Professionals program, a
career development program that taps young talent for CU growth and
outreach. "We are the first in the nation to have YP representation on a
League Board, another indication of the progressive nature of the credit
union leaders in our state," he said.
He also points to the national
attention The League's Compliance Specialist
Program received in Credit Union
Magazine – and the praise it is
earning from program participants
– for helping credit unions expedite compliance workload. "It was
Wisconsin credit unions themselves who conceived the idea and whose
collaboration makes the program possible," Jim emphasized.
When it comes to advice, he urges credit unions to step up their political giving efforts with the same zeal they pour into community and charitable activities. "Without that strong support on the legislative and regulatory front, credit unions will find it increasingly difficult to compete, and ours is the last influence that keeps banks' pricing at least somewhat in check," he said. All credit unions, he said, should encourage voluntary giving by employees through Payroll Deduction.
"In Wisconsin and in so many other states,
dedicated professionals truly bleed credit union philosophy," he said.
"We know we are the best alternative to banks and have created a model
to demonstrate that. And that means we're well on our way to achieving the
vision we'll be talking about at
Convention for the continued growth of this movement."
©2005 Wisconsin Credit Union League. All rights reserved.