MADISON, Wis. (3/25/15)--As president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association (MCUA), Charles Elliott witnessed credit unions struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
With so much destruction, it was a challenge to determine where to focus the relief efforts, he told Credit Union Magazine.
"We didn't want to cast too wide a net where we wouldn't make a difference, so we focused on credit union employees," he said.
The league also worked to connect credit unions with relief efforts from the credit union system nationwide, and Elliott himself helped raise funds for affected employees and delivered food and clothing.
He is one of three nominees for this year's Credit Union Magazine "CU Hero of the Year" award, which recognizes credit union professionals who relentlessly promote the credit union philosophy, dedicate themselves to credit union principles and make a difference in their communities.
Elliott has been with the league for 35 years, becoming its youngest president/CEO at age 31.
He said it's important to keep credit unions as viable as possible, especially for states like Mississippi with its unserved and underserved population. "The smallest credit unions are some of the most-needed," he told Credit Union Magazine. "Every credit union had $5 in assets at one time, and it's easier to develop existing credit unions than to charter new ones.
"Credit unions are the most logical institutions in the world, and it's a privilege and honor to help develop and promote them."