'Godfather' Named 2010 CU Hero of the Year

June 02, 2010
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Credit Union Magazine readers selected Vic Thate, executive vice president of FAA Credit Union in Oklahoma City, as the 2010 CU Hero of the Year.

He’ll receive the award during The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas, July 11-14, in addition to a free conference registration and lodging.

Nicknamed the “godfather” of Credit Unions for Kids, Thate has donated large portions of his time and effort to the organization, a partner with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

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When he became executive vice president of FAA Credit Union, Oklahoma City—after a long career as a banker/banking consultant and CMN advocate in Texas—few Oklahoma credit unions were raising funds for CMN. Thate wanted to change that.

“When I moved to Oklahoma in 1998, the local CMN office contacted me, saying word had come from Austin that they should get me involved in Oklahoma,” he says. “Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Credit Union League was in the early stages of forming a CMN/Credit Unions for Kids fund-raising committee. They wanted all the credit unions in the state to raise funds for the children’s hospitals in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

“I volunteered to be on that committee and chaired it for the first two years. Our goal was to meet monthly and to get every credit union involved in some way.”

His first year championing the CMN cause in Oklahoma was a struggle; state credit unions raised less than $100. But largely because of efforts he spearheaded since then, Oklahoma placed 10th in the U.S. for credit union fund raising in 2008—donating more than $150,000. In 2009, Oklahoma credit unions donated more than $180,000.

In 2007, Thate received FAA’s President’s Award, bestowed only once a year by the credit union’s CEO. “It was a shock to me,” he admits, “because each day I just try to do what’s in the best interests of the credit union and our members. It meant a lot to me to be recognized for doing something I enjoy.”

Other 2010 Credit Union Hero nominees were:

  • Leslie Ellis, CEO of Credit Union 1 in Anchorage, Alaska;
  • Augustine Kang (posthumous), first CEO of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, and special project director for World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) China project; and
  • Dave Maus, CEO of Public Service Credit Union in Denver.

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