‘The professor’ demystifies finance
Justin Mouzoukos named CUNA Finance Council’s 2021 Professional of the Year.
He’s the chief financial officer (CFO), but Justin Mouzoukos likes another title his colleagues at $832 million asset Mazuma Credit Union in Overland Park, Kan., call him: the professor.
“I love finance,” says Mouzoukos. “Whenever I find opportunities to spend time with the asset/liability committee or the board to explain what we do, I take advantage of them. I like to teach across all levels of the organization.”
Mouzoukos was named the CUNA Finance Council’s 2021 Professional of the Year.
His instinct for instruction began early—and unexpectedly.
After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2006 and starting at Mazuma, Mouzoukos endured a nearly nine-month hospital stay after a leukemia diagnosis in 2009.
“The hospital staff heard I was in finance and started asking me questions,” he recalls. He was happy to explain the mechanics of credit scores, financial markets, and 401(k) plans.
More than a decade cancer-free, Mouzoukos feels fortunate to be in a career that allows him to continue to help those in the Kansas City community. “The beauty of this industry is that it’s all about the mission.”
Following stints as assistant vice president of finance and interim CFO, Mouzoukos was named CFO in late 2014.
He’s particularly proud of a participation loan program he conceived in 2018 and grew along with his industry peers.
Although credit unions were already selling loans to one another, “many of us were all working through middlemen,” Mouzoukos says. It was more efficient to boost one credit union’s liquidity needs and another’s asset volume if done directly.
Mazuma’s first loan sale to another local credit union was relatively small.
With that success, he and Dan Engelhard, Mazuma’s chief lending officer, shared the approach with members of the CUNA Finance and Lending Councils. The program has grown into a multi-million-dollar operation.
Mouzoukos has also been instrumental in establishing a “Crash the CFO Program,” which allows young credit union finance professionals to attend events sponsored by the CUNA Finance Council in partnership with the Cooperative Trust and the Filene Research Institute.
“Professor Mouzoukos” is also a lifelong student himself, earning an MBA from the University of Kansas in 2012 and several executive degrees while working at Mazuma.
He also relies on the wisdom of his network of other credit union finance professionals. “I’ve been CFO for seven years, and I still pick up the phone to ask questions.”