Spirit of Cooperation Led to Success

'Cooperation has always been our strength, but it requires work.'

February 6, 2014

In recognition of his exceptional leadership and numerous contributions to the credit union movement, the National Credit Union Foundation is presenting Jim McCormack with a 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.

McCormack is the retired president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

Credit Union Magazine recently chatted with McCormack about the award and his career.

Q What does the Wegner Award mean to you?

A The award is not for me, but rather for all of Pennsylvania’s credit unions and what we’ve accomplished together.

It’s important to recognize our spirit of cooperation and Pennsylvania credit unions’ service to members and consumers.

It’s especially meaningful since in the late 1970s with the National Youth Involvement Board I actually had the distinct pleasure of meeting Herb Wegner in his office. So, I guess I’ve come full circle.

Q Looking back at your career, what makes you proud?

A Three specific achievements come to mind: 

  1. Starting the league’s credit card program through its CUSO to enable credit unions of virtually all sizes to bring plastics to members in order to effectively compete;
  2. Participating in ATM networks in the state during the early 1980s that allowed credit unions to utilize that new delivery channel; and
  3. Developing our state’s credit union foundation and service center network of shared branching.

Q What was the most challenging issue you had to deal with during your CU career?

A There have been many, but none were insurmountable because we were able to overcome them by working together and cooperating.

Q What’s your best leadership advice?

A Never take for granted that people work together.

Cooperation has always been our strength, but it requires work. It’s important to remember that we are a movement, not an industry.

And lastly, ensure that young people are involved and grasp credit union philosophy.