America's CU Conference

A Hero for Small CUs

Joni Senkpeil honored as CU Magazine’s CU Hero of the Year.

July 1, 2014

Joni Senkpeil

Small credit unions in sheer numbers are big business, said Joni Senkpeil, director of small credit union development for the Illinois Credit Union League.

“They provide financial choice,” she said. “We need them.”

Credit Union Magazine readers voted Senkpeil the 2014 Credit Union Hero of the Year. She received her award during Monday’s Opening General Session at CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference.

Keynoter Steve Farber also honored Senkpeil during his address. “A hero is someone who sees a need and steps up, like Joni,” he said.

Senkpeil’s passion for credit unions, especially small ones, is evident in her every activity. She started the league’s Small Asset Size Credit Union Advisory Group, which aims to foster a stronger small credit union community.

She also launched a regional “lunch and learn” workshop series designed for small credit unions. The workshops are formatted strategically to minimize travel, time away from the office, and hotel expenses for participants.

Believing credit unions needed a single source for resources, Senkpeil also was instrumental in developing content for the league’s Small Credit Union Center website, including best practices, information on grant funding, strategic planning services, and common business templates.


Through her work, Senkpeil has given small credit unions a vital forum to network and help each other.

“Together we have a powerful voice, and we can do a lot," said Senkpeil, who added there’s not enough stories about how small credit unions work together. "Collaborate, and share your ideas with each other."

This honor has been "an amazing, awesome experience," she said, and thanked the credit unions she serves—her heroes—for inspiring her each day.

Credit Union Magazine readers also honored these leaders as Credit Union Heroes (click their names to read full profiles):
William Armstrong, director, Northeast Community Credit Union, Elizabethton, Tenn.;
Dan Morrisey, CEO/treasurer, Queen of Peace Arlington (Va.) Federal Credit Union; and
William “Bill” Rissel, president/CEO, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, Radcliff, Ky.

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