2019 Credit Union Hero of the Year Serves to Show Big Impact of Small Credit Unions

June 4, 2019


Lauren Williams - CUNA Communications; (202) 626-7642;
Tiffany Niederwerfer - CUNA Marketing; (608) 231-4284;

MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (June 4, 2019) – Credit Union Magazine announced today that Harlene Johnson, president of Light Commerce Credit Union, is the winner of the 2019 Credit Union Hero of the Year award. Sponsored by CUNA system partner CUNA Mutual Group, the Credit Union Hero of the Year award recognizes an individual who serves as an example for the entire movement through their service, advocacy and commitment to credit union ideals.

”Harlene’s passion for her community, and her financial expertise, inspired New Light Christian Center Church to ask her to lead the chartering process for a new credit union,” said Ann Hayes Peterson, CUNA vice president of publishing and editor-in-chief. “Light Commerce Credit Union was built with her passion. And its success is defined by her determination and leadership.”

As a CUNA Certified Financial Counselor, Johnson plays a pivotal role in helping members facing financial trouble avoid predatory payday lenders and attain affordable lending alternatives under a federal grant recently awarded to her $2.7 million asset credit union. Johnson also assists these members in developing long-term financial plans and strategies to secure a better financial future. While Johnson’s credit union is small, she looks for ways to make the most of her credit union’s financial resources and sponsor support to provide robust options to membership.

“We take advantage of every opportunity we can—church events and credit union workshops—to speak to our members about finances,” said Johnson. “I do a lot of one-on-one, free financial counseling.”

Johnson will be recognized at America’s Credit Union Conference, June 17-20, 2019 in Walt Disney World® Resort, FL.

To read full stories about Johnson and the other three finalists, visit


About CUNA

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America's credit unions, which are owned by 110 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit