Steve Schmitz and Eric Bruen
Steve Schmitz (left) and Eric Bruen

PODCAST: Turnaround experts

Rock Stars Steve Schmitz and Eric Bruen on navigating adversity.

October 14, 2021

If there’s no education like adversity, Steve Schmitz and Eric Bruen should receive advanced degrees.

Schmitz, president/CEO of $1 billion asset First Community Credit Union in Jamestown, N.D., and Bruen, president/CEO at $60 million asset Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union in Ridgecrest, Calif., led their institutions through dire financial straits and learned many useful lessons along the way.

In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, Schmitz and Bruen take us through how they tackled tough times and rejuvenated their credit unions.

They’re among 31 credit union leaders named as 2021 Credit Union Rock Stars by Credit Union Magazine.

Sponsored by Fiserv, the Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion.

You can listen to the CUNA News Podcast in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.

In this episode:

Steve Schmitz
1:25 His background in dairy farming and Air Force service
4:05: Navigating tough times
8:00: “Big numbers can make you numb”
10:00: Advice to leaders who are struggling

Eric Bruen
12:50: Recovering from major earthquakes
13:44: Lessons from the earthquake crisis
16:40: “It was the best opportunity I could have asked for”
17:56: “Bad players and poor decisions”
19:37: How he turned the credit union around
21:33: What worked and what didn’t