LENEXA, Kan. (10/15/08)--CommunityAmerica CU CEO Dennis Pierce has made a dedicated effort to be a part of the fabric of the Kansas City community, according to Missouri Credit Union Association president Rosie Holub. “He believes in leading by example,” she told the Kansas City Business Journal (Oct. 10). The Journal published an article spotlighting some of Pierce’s achievements in his credit union career. Pierce, who said he “started at the bottom” and received his first raise when the minimum wage went up, is a “natural leader” for the credit union, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chairman Tom Dorety said. Pierce began working in the credit union movement in 1983, when he was hired as the data processing systems manager at Steel Workers CU, which is now United Consumers CU, in Independence, Mo. He was hired as president of Members America CU, CommunityAmerica’s predecessor, in 1993. The credit union was serving employees of TWA, an airline that was struggling after going bankrupt, the newspaper said. Pierce helped the TWA employees by making sure the credit union’s products matched their needs. He also created a community identity for the credit union and permitted credit union employees 12 work hours a year to volunteer with community organizations. Pierce led a merger with Yellow Financial CU in 1998, which created CommunityAmerica. He also set up an agreement to put branches in Hy-Vee retail stores in 1999. Last year, CommunityAmerica merged with Midwest United CU of Blue Springs. Pierce said his goal isn’t to see how big the credit union can be, but how well it can help people, he told the newspaper. With the merger came a $6 million distribution to members. The last payment was in November--$250. One member said she was going to use the dividend to buy Christmas presents for her children. Without the dividend, she had no money for the holidays, she told Pierce. “That type of thing just really gets me going,” Pierce told the Journal. CommunityAmerica has $1.689 billion in assets.