The Movement Remembers

‘Doc’ Heins: A Visionary Leader

Former CUNA Mutual Group president/CEO, died May 3.

July 21, 2013


Heins was well-known, well-respected, and well-liked throughout the credit union movement, and lauded for his dedication to the credit union movement around the world and for his visionary leadership.

Among his many accomplishments were:

  • Creating a program allowing credit unions to write loans for as little as 5% down;
  • Expanding the delivery of direct-response products including life insurance;
  • Applying age and health factors to insurance risk ratings, his pioneering innovation;
  • Providing unwavering support of an independent federal regulator and insurer for credit unions; and,
  • Supporting the creation of the Filene Research Institute (and later, the i3 group).

Credit Union Magazine looks back on the life of Richard ‘Doc’ Heins—business leader, author, teacher, statesman, community supporter, and visionary. 

NEXT: Photos of Heins throughout the years


William W. Pratt (left), CUNA Mutual board member, and Heins discuss Heins’s book “Principles of Risk Management and Insurance,” published in 1967.






Affectionately known as “Doc” to his students and colleagues, Heins taught risk management and insurance and business law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business for more than 30 years. 



Heins supported the international CU movement, including support for rebuilding CUs in Poland after the demise of that country’s communist regime. In October 1990, he visited Poland and met with Lech Walesa (left), leader of the Solidarity government.


Heins was a strong supporter of UW-Madison and a true Badger. Above, he poses with UW Band Director Michael Leckrone, other band members, and members of the Very Special Arts Marching Band, during a UW Badgers football game in October 1992.



A major accomplishment under Heins’s leadership was the signing of the permanent affi liation agreement with the Century Companies of America in Waverly, Iowa. The move allowed CUNA Mutual to market individual life and annuity products to CU members. Here’s Heins at the CUNA Mutual Group headquarters in Madison, Wis. (Photos provided by CUNA Mutual Group)