Cranston and Esser join CULedger management team

April 6, 2018


CONTACT: Lauren Williams – CUNA Communications; (202) 626-7642;            

Denver, CO (April 3, 2018) – CULedger, credit union-owned CUSO that focuses on delivering innovative applications on a global distributed ledger platform for credit unions, welcomes two new additions to the executive management team.  

Rick Cranston, a lead contributor and driver for credit union distributed ledger technology, will serve as the Chief Operating Officer for CULedger, an initiative supported by the Credit Union National Association and the Mountain West Credit Union Association.  

"We are thrilled that Rick has accepted the full-time role of COO," said John Ainsworth, CEO of CULedger. "We are confident that Rick's dedication to the Self-Sovereign Identity space and extensive knowledge of the blockchain consortia will help guide CULedger forward as we look to reshape the credit union industry." 

Cranston comes to CULedger with over 30 years of experience in technology initiatives including working with fintech companies and Fortune 50 organizations. Prior to joining CULedger, Cranston served as the Vice President of Innovation and Product Development at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, where he was responsible for creating and deploying various technology initiatives.  

Julie Esser has also been named CULedger's Chief Engagement Officer. Esser was formally the Vice President of Alliance Development for CUNA Strategic Services, an affiliate of the Credit Union National Association. During her time with CUNA Strategic Services, Esser developed 46 new strategic alliance relationships from 2003-2016, totaling over $28 million in revenue, which accounted for approximately 70% of CUNA Strategic Services’ total revenues.  

"Julie brings a wealth of credit union industry experience in product management," said Ainsworth. "There is no doubt that she will effectively contribute to the blockchain development process from conception to implementation." 

Esser was one of the key leaders in CUNA’s involvement with CULedger and played an instrumental role in creating the organization’s business plan that ultimately formed CULedger as a company.  She also led the effort in launching CUNA’s ".CREDITUNION" top-level domain initiative which is now available to all U.S. credit unions.  

About CULedger

CULedger is a credit union-owned CUSO that focuses on delivering innovative applications on a global distributed ledger platform for credit unions. In working through a national consortium of thirteen credit unions and trusted industry investors, CULedger has recently announced exciting new developments around a global self-sovereign digital identity that will be market leading and further enhance the trust credit unions have with their members. CULedger will benefit credit unions and their members by reducing risks associated with cybersecurity and fraud, improving member experience and cutting costs.  For more information, visit