Things haven't always been easy for Margaret Hunnicutt. But she sure makes it look that way through her successes, resilience, and abundant compassion.
The president/CEO of $160 million asset Landings Credit Union in Tempe, Ariz., is no stranger to challenges. First serving as CFO, Hunnicutt took over the CEO position in 2008—the fateful year of the housing crisis.
“My focus was on what steps we needed to take to secure the assets of the credit union and not lose all our capital,” she says. “We had to make immediate expense reductions, and some of those were not easy. We had to close a branch, sever employee relationships, and renegotiate every contract in order to salvage our capital and our bottom line.”
Hunnicutt has been tested in her personal life, too.
“For a period in my life, I was a single mother with three children living on welfare and barely making ends meet,” she says.
Personally and professionally, Hunnicutt dug into her reserves of gumption and not only conquered the adversities, but thrived.
She has won numerous awards for her credit union work and volunteerism—such as Mountain States Credit Union Association Credit Union Professional of the Year and the Tempe Community Council Karma Award for Volunteerism. And with the help of her team, the credit union weathered the recession.
“I’m extremely proud of my staff that stuck with me during that rough patch,” she says. “They’re responsible for carrying out my orders during that time and restoring the credit union to a financially stable institution.”
When she’s not golfing with her husband or doting on her six grandchildren, Hunnicutt is adding to her experiences from more than four decades in the financial services industry. Hunnicutt leads Tempe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which last year completed nearly 2,000 tax returns. At the credit union, she hosts quarterly “Breakfast with the President” meetings to better get acquainted with staff and hear their ideas.
“I love the way credit unions look out for the members first, the staff second, and profits last,” she says. “Yes, we all have to maintain that balance, but our products and services are aligned to make our stakeholders financially successful, which is far ahead of what for-profit financial institutions do.”