George Patchin was an ambassador.
Known by many in town, Patchin was the face of Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union. He answered the questions he could, he sought out answers to those he didn’t, and he asked tough questions during NCUA examinations.
“Everyone knew George,” says Nick Meyer, president/CEO of the $165 million asset credit union in Mankato. “He was like a man on the street for us.”
Patchin’s involvement with Minnesota Valley Federal began in 1973, when he was elected to the board of what was then known as Mankato Teachers Credit Union. He served on the board and various committees, including the asset and liability committee, and was treasurer for decades when he unexpectedly passed away June 18, 2018.
“He was rock solid,” Meyer says. “He was a star, and he really did shine bright for the credit union.”
During his 48 years on the board, Patchin saw the credit union grow from a $5 million asset credit union with 900 members into a $165 million asset credit union with more than 14,000 members. Patchin, Meyer says, was responsible for bringing more than 1,000 members into the credit union as it expanded its field of membership to include new select employee groups and eventually adopted a community charter.
“He was never a believer in merging other credit unions,” Meyer says. “He always wanted the growth to be organic. He wanted to earn it.” He also wanted to help other credit unions grow, too.
A retired business education teacher, Patchin, who was named Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Volunteer of the Year in 2009, was focused on assisting people to become financially savvy. He understood the challenges and worked to ensure that people—with the help of the credit union—could reach their financial goals.
“He really cared. He cared about the employees, the members, and the community,” Meyer says. “He didn’t do it for the attention or the accolades.”
Meyer says it will be difficult to fill the void left on the board.
“I’m not so sure you can replace someone with that kind of institutional memory that still stays current,” Meyer says. “He didn’t stay in the old days. He had that winning combination of history, but also thinking forward."