BOULDER, Colo. (8/20/08)--The 2009 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement will be presented posthumously to the late William Charles “Bill” Sterner.
Sterner, former CEO of Boulder-based Elevations CU, died at age 66 while at the Credit Union Association of Colorado’s Legislative Forum in March (News Now
April 1). The award will be presented at the 21st Annual Wegner Awards Dinner presented by the National Credit Union Foundation. Sterner was former chairman of the Credit Union Association of Colorado (CUAC) and former vice president of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “Bill’s memory shines on in all our lives,” said Wegner Award nominator John Dill, president/CEO of CUAC and the Credit Union Foundation of Colorado and Wyoming. “Bill’s strong commitment, vision, and innovation to foster growth in the credit union industry will continue to inspire and help advance future generations and new frontiers.” Decades before most credit unions learned to “reach out to new markets” and “serve the underserved,” Sterner taught these concepts around the world. He promoted new and sustained membership in cooperatives and helped save the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program from elimination during budget cuts. In 1990, Sterner was appointed to lead CUNA’s Credit Union Moonshot, an outreach program. He trained credit union leagues and built the first credit union template to reach the Hispanic community. In 1997, Sterner joined the University of Colorado FCU and became interim CEO in 2000. He oversaw its transition to Elevations CU, with asset growth from $350 million to $790 million, increased membership to 76,000, and recognition as Boulder's "Best Financial Institution" for nine consecutive years. “Bill’s underlying operational focus was on the basic credit union tenets: providing for the underserved and meeting the needs of members,” said Immediate Past Chair Lynn Walloch. Sterner’s memorial will be the final presentation during the Wegner Awards Dinner at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 23, opening night of CUNA’s 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference.