After 10 years working for a large bank, Aaron Racicot found himself on the unfortunate end of a story right out of Charles Dickens: laid off two days before Christmas.
But Racicot found a home at People’s Trust Credit Union a few days later, and found he prefers financial cooperatives.
“I especially liked the access to senior management,” says Racicot, now assistant vice president of risk services at the $547 million asset credit union in Houston. “At People’s Trust, our CEO’s office is right down the hall with the door open. She welcomes my input.”
In his stint as collections manager, Racicot trimmed the credit union’s delinquency ratio to 2% from 10%. In ensuing years, his team went on to produce the lowest figures People’s Trust had seen in two decades.
“My staff learned that the collections department is ‘member service for financially lost members,’ and that we should do everything we can to help them. They also learned to be unafraid to call in a loan if it’s the right thing to do for the overall membership,” he says. “There’s no pushing debt down the river at People’s Trust. We’re here to protect the assets of our members.”
He also started a program that increased recoveries by 300% and founded the credit union’s insurance agency, subprime GPS auto lending program, and consumer counseling program. Racicot says he learned a lot by stepping outside his area of expertise to start these programs.
“I’m driven by the goal of being the best,” he says. “I want to be the best and I want People’s Trust to be the best financial institution in Houston, Texas, and the U.S. As a part of being the best, a credit union must do everything it can to help its members. These programs help our members. I’m very proud of that.
“I’m also very proud of my staff,” Racicot continues. “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything here without their help. I might be the rock star, but they are the band that makes me look good.”
Racicot says his goal is to become CEO of a credit union.
He credits People’s Trust CEO Angela McCathran as an inspiration, due to her belief in the credit union movement and her desire to enable staff to expand their roles and expertise.