Special Report: League Leaders Pass the Torch

Former Prosecutor Turns to Economic Justice

Egan created the nation’s first league management agreement.

December 10, 2013

One constant in Dan Egan’s career has been justice, first as an assistant district attorney and then as legal counsel for the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association.

When a law enforcement friend joined CUNA Mutual Group, he told Egan how great it was to work with credit union people. So when an opening for general counsel at the Massachusetts Credit Union Association came up in 1981, Egan applied for the job and got it.

Less than three years later, the league’s president died of a heart attack—and the board named Egan his successor. He’s been helping member credit unions provide economic justice for their members ever since.

Egan will retire at year’s end, handing the reins to CUNA executive Paul Gentile.

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“I have never been shy about expressing my opinions, especially when it comes to Boston sports teams. To use the adage, what you see is what you get.

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His main objective initially was to leverage the cooperative foundation of credit unions to make the most of the league’s limited resources.

“At the time, credit unions were declining in numbers and few were being formed,” says Egan, who also leads the New Hampshire Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island through a management agreement. “I thought the more we could centralize resources, the better we would be in the long run.”

His multifold accomplishments over the years bear this out, including:

He admits the act wasn’t perfect because Congress had to adopt the Senate version of the bill to ensure passage to obtain the president’s signature before the end of the legislative session. “But many issues that were proposed that would have been detrimental to credit unions were omitted from the final bill.”

Looking ahead, Egan sees a great future for the credit union movement, but one that will not lack significant challenges. “As credit unions continue to merge, there's bound to be a greater demand for efficiency on the CUNA/league system. It's gratifying to see the evolution of the management agreement concept that we implemented in 1985 evolve to a merger of leagues in the Pacific Northwest, the Southeast, and the Mountain states.”

One challenge demanding quick resolution is the need for one national trade association to represent the interests of all credit unions, he says. “The division of scarce resources and potentially conflicting messages to Congress and federal regulators is detrimental to the best interests of credit unions and only helps the bankers in their efforts to lobby against us.”

Next up for Egan: “I hope to be involved in organizations that address the needs of people in relation to food, housing, and jobs. I've learned from my experience in credit unions that cooperation is a powerful tool in getting things done. I hope to participate in organizations that utilize cooperation to better the lives of people throughout our communities.”

He says the best characteristics of credit unions are embodied in the many people who run credit unions and related organizations each day. “The thing I will miss most after retiring will be the daily interactions with the many individuals who have become my close friends in credit unions, leagues, CUNA, and CUNA Mutual Group over the years.

“I've benefited from great advice and counsel from many exceptional people in the credit union community. I will cherish the memories of those great people for the rest of my life.”

Tomorrow: Steve Fowler, president/CEO, South Carolina CU League