What Can CUs Learn from Regulators? California CEOs Chime In

(L-R): Rick Weber, CEO of CBC FCU; and Beth Dooley, CEO of Educational Employees CU
(L-R): Rick Weber, CEO of CBC FCU; and Beth Dooley, CEO of Educational Employees CU

In an article published this week, CreditUnions.com featured CBC FCU CEO Rick Weber and Educational Employees CU CEO Beth Dooley, both former credit union examiners many years ago. They give insight into why they switched careers and what they offer the cooperative movement (along with other industry leaders from across the nation).

Rick Weber, CEO of CBC FCU
Rick Weber was with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) from 1991 through 1998, with principal examiner as his last title. He joined CBC Federal Credit Union ($626.2M, Oxnard, CA) in 2016 and became the permanent president and CEO in March 2020, capping 30 years working as a regulator and as an executive with small and large credit unions.

What made you decide to work for a credit union rather than stay in a regulatory role?
Rick Weber (RW): After being an examiner for seven years, I lost my passion for observing and being a referee. I wanted to be part of a team and actually play the game.

As a former regulator, what value do you bring to your credit union?
RW: The NCUA provided great training and the experience was amazing. Through examinations, reviews, and observations, I could see how most areas of the credit union operated and how they drove the financial performance of the organization.

In seven years with the NCUA, I reviewed and observed hundreds of strategic plans as well as the best and worst practices within the industry. Spending a week or two at many different sizes and types of credit unions is a quick way to learn an industry.

What advice do you have for bringing someone from the regulatory side into a credit union shop?
RW: An examiner brings a great deal of knowledge and is also skilled to research an answer that is not known. The NCUA provides some of the best high-level technical training while the examination process provides real-world observations for each practice and how it all fits together.

Many examiners are successful at making the transition from regulator to executive, but it’s not easy. Examiners, like myself, assume that running or leading a credit union is more about numbers and following processes than anything else; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The examination process doesn’t give exposure to the working culture of the credit union and what it takes to motivate, recruit, develop, and retain a successful team. Nearly all who eventually succeed with the transition from examiner to executive have become good communicators to go with their depth of knowledge.

Beth Dooley, CEO of Educational Employees CU
Beth Dooley managed the credit union division of what is now the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation from late 2000 through late 2007. She has been CEO of Educational Employees Credit Union ($4.4B, Fresno, CA) since December 2007.

What made you decide to work for a credit union rather than stay in a regulatory role?
Beth Dooley (BD): While serving as a regulator and having previously worked at the California Credit Union League, I saw the impact that credit unions have on the communities they serve, and that appealed to me.

My transition to EECU coincided with the start of the financial crisis, during which we assisted a number of members who were struggling financially. I’m proud of the continuing support we provide to our members and the greater communities. Credit unions truly embrace the motto of “People Helping People,” and I am thankful to be part of the movement.

As a former regulator, what value do you bring to your credit union?
BD: Prior regulatory experience provides significant benefits to a credit union. Understanding a regulator’s concerns and why those issues are important is helpful and makes it easier to come to a mutually agreeable resolution on issues.

Prior regulatory experience also provides a different perspective on the regulatory and legislative processes as well as a different view of politicians and how they might approach proposed changes. Lawmakers often seek input from the regulators about proposed changes.

Perhaps most importantly, regulatory experience provides the benefit of seeing the operations of many different credit unions. You see what works well — and why — in one credit union but not so well in another.

What advice do you have for bringing someone from the regulatory side into a credit union shop?
BD: I would encourage credit unions to give serious consideration to candidates with regulatory background, and candidates who have at least a few years of regulatory experience will have a greater breadth of experience upon which to draw. I learned things as a regulator I would not have learned anywhere else. Other credit unions could derive a similar benefit from someone with this type of experience.

Pin It