MADISON, Wis. (6/3/10)--Credit Union Magazine's
2010 Credit Union Hero of the Year is Vic Thate, executive vice president of FAA CU, Oklahoma City, the magazine announced Wednesday.
Thate, known as Oklahoma's "godfather" of Credit Unions for Kids, was selected from four nominees by magazine readers voting on creditunionmagazine.com
. Credit Unions for Kids is a partner with Children's Miracle Network, which raises funds for children's hospitals nationwide. Thate had a long career as a banker/banking consultant and Children's Miracle Network advocate in Texas. When he joined FAA CU in 1998 as executive vice president, few Oklahoma credit unions were raising funds for the network. The local network's office contacted him, at about the same time the Oklahoma Credit Union League began the early stages of forming its fund-raising committee for the project. Thate chaired that committee for the first two years. The first year 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' goal was $180,000. He also served on the Oklahoma City CMN Council and volunteered as a board member of the city's Children's Medical Research Institute. Thate is also active in the political arena at the state and national levels and is on a first-name basis with many of Oklahoma's lawmakers. Other programs he advocates include serving the underserved Hispanic population and promoting indirect lending. Although he didn't work at credit unions until he joined the staff of University FCU in Austin, Texas in the 1980s, Thate grew up on a Missouri farm and knew the benefits of cooperatives, said the magazine. Other nominees were:
* Leslie Ellis, CEO of Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska; * Augustine Kang (posthumous), first CEO of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and special project director for the World Council of Credit Unions' China project; and * Dave Maus, CEO of Public Service CU in Denver.
Thate will be honored at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas, July 11-14 and will receive free conference registration and lodging, said the magazine. The conference is co-hosted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and WOCCU. Credit Union Magazine
is CUNA's monthly magazine for credit union staff and volunteers.