Mike Barr has had a meteoric rise at Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
He started as a part-time teller at the $82 million asset credit union while attending college, and quickly rose up the leadership ranks.
“At 18 years old, I had no intent of making the credit union job a career,” says Barr, who became CEO in 2008. “However, it wasn’t long before I began to develop a passion for what we were doing at the credit union: helping people and building long-term relationships.”
After a few years, Barr moved to the loan department, and eventually to assistant manager. That meant handling marketing, information technology, back-office processing, member service, and lending.
The CEO at the time planned to retire within a few years, and the 22-year-old Barr asked to be considered as her successor.
“With her support and the board’s, they took a chance on a very young leader in training and invested in my preparation to become the next CEO,” he says.
Barr was initially promoted to chief financial officer, where he learned and became responsible for the credit union’s accounting, investments, asset/liability management, and financial planning.
When the former CEO retired, Barr was promoted to CEO, and the retiring CEO served as a consultant for a time. Since then, Commodore Perry Federal has grown and made substantial achievements. The credit union:
Under Barr’s leadership, Commodore Perry Federal has developed several CDFI award-winning initiatives. These efforts include a loan for skilled-trade training programs and a mortgage for low- to moderate-income borrowers that requires less than a 1% down payment and no private mortgage insurance.
In addition, the credit union has established Building Opportunities for Smart Savings (BOSS), a financial counseling program that teaches members how to raise their credit scores, create budgets, pay off debt, qualify for loans, and save money.
“We’ve dedicated a full-time staff member to serve as our financial coach,” Barr says. “We’ve helped hundreds of members through this program.