Category Archives: Featured Members

Robert Watson

Robert Leander Watson Sr. was born November 17, 1921, in Macon, GA. At an early age the family moved to Detroit, MI where he attended grammar school and later graduated from Cooley High School. Upon graduating from High School, Watson started his business as a landscaper.
In 1942, he began to work at the Packard Motor Co. as a janitor. There he started to fight for equal job opportunities because the company would not hire Blacks to operate machinery. He was instrumental in organizing a strike to correct the inequity, and as a result, the machine shop was opened to Blacks. Watson left Packard in 1948 to become an entrepreneur and a small business owner. He was a life insurance salesman, had a shoe repair shop and dry cleaners.
Watson returned to the automotive industry and began working for Chrysler Corp. He became very active with the UAW and Fair Practices Committee, and subsequently moved to Wilmington, DE in 1957 to continue working for the Chrysler Corp. There he became Chairman of the Fair Practices Committee and served for 23 years. He was also the State Chairman for Region 8 for the UAW Civil Rights Division.
Since the first strike at Packard Motors, Watson has demonstrated, picketed, and marched many times for equal housing, public accommodations, and restaurant services. He has participated in many sit-ins and demonstrations. He is a firm believer in quit dragging your feet, pick them up and go forward. Watson has said for many years if he is needed today to march, demonstrate, or picket, he is ready.
Watson and four other visionaries started Chryco Newark Federal Credit Union (American Spirit Credit Union) in Newark, Delaware. Many Chrysler workers were having trouble obtaining financial services in the 1960’s and therefore desired to have their own Financial Institution. This gave them the opportunity to have services provided that they needed. He was Chairman of the Credit Committee, served on the Supervisory Committee, and has held the positions of Secretary, Vice President, and President. He has been a credit union volunteer since the credit union started in 1963, and served on the Board for over 50 years.
Watson’s vision and belief is that people of color are knowledgeable and capable, and can make a significant impact if they are given an opportunity. He was instrumental in pressuring management to create a diversified work force at American Spirit, and was instrumental in the hiring of the first minority at the credit union in the 60’s. Watson got involved with the Credit Union because he wanted to give back to the community by educating and helping people to fulfill their dreams. He stated that the credit union has educated and helped teach many members how to help themselves.
He continued, “…the credit union has also taught me a lot too. People come together to help one another, some come here to save… and others to borrow. It’s rewarding when you help others—we’re volunteers, the board, the supervisory committee, and loan review board… we volunteer because we care. If we didn’t have volunteers, the cost for credit union products and services would be much higher.”
He is a member of Coleman Memorial United Methodist Church where he serves with the Men’s Ministry.
At 95 he is still active with the UAW retirees.
He was married to Lillian L. Watson for 74 years and they have four children.
Watson has given back to the community in a huge way through his devotion, fairness, and dedication, and this exhibits his commitment and passion to serve and encourage others to grow financially.

Bert J. Hash Jr.

Bert J. Hash Jr., is the retired President and CEO of the Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore (MECU) Inc., a position he held from December 1996 to June 2014.
Mr. Hash is a seasoned financial services executive with over 44 years experience in managing various aspects of banking and financial services. He worked for Equitable Bank for 15 years, and Provident Bank of Maryland for 12 years.
During his 18-year tenure in the Credit Union industry, Hash has been active on numerous boards. He has served as Chairman of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA), Vice Chair of the Maryland Credit Union Foundation (MCUF), and Loan Committee Chair of the Baltimore Development Committee (BDC). He is also a member emeritus of the Board of Directors of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), and a member of the CUNA Mutual Group Board of Directors.
In April 2008, Maryland’s Governor O’Malley appointed him to the Board of Trustees for the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT). In addition to being appointed to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission in November 2012. In June 2012, Baltimore City Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, appointed Mr. Hash to the Baltimore City Fire Commissioners Board.
Active in numerous professional and civic organizations, Mr. Hash currently serves as the Chairman of the newly merged Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity, Vice Chair of Morgan State University’s Foundation, Treasurer of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership Board, and served as Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority of Baltimore City.

Morgan State University’s Alumnus of the Year, 1999
Judith A. Burgin Memorial Credit Union Professional of the Year Award, 2004
CEO of the Year by the Credit Union Times Magazine, 2007
WMAR·TV “Lasting Legacy Award” in Baltimore, 2008
Credit Union Executives Society’s Hall of Fame, 2008
Wright Patman Credit Union Hall of Fame Award, 2010
UFSC Nathaniel Harris Life Time Achievement Award, 2011
Associated Black Charities Torch Bearer Award, 2011
A. Phillip Randolph Community Service Award, 2012
Credit Union Executive Society CEO Executive of t h e Year Award, 2012
Havre de Grace High School Life Time Achievement Award, October 2013
Baltimore Urban League – Whitney M. Young Award, 2014
Daily Record 50 Most Influential Marylanders, 2014
AACUC Pete Crear Life Time Achievement Award, 2014

Hash holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University.

He has been married to his lovely wife Joan S. Hash for forty-four years and they
reside in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Isaac B. Dickson Jr.

Isaac B. Dickson Jr., a native of Montgomery, AL, has been a resident of Spartanburg, SC since 1981. He spent nearly 30 years in the temporary employment industry as Vice President of The Hiring Authority, Inc. Professional memberships include the Society of Human Resource Management, Spartanburg Human Resource Association and the SC Association of Personnel Services.
Currently Isaac is the Director of Marketing for Atchison Transportation Service, a full-service ground transportation service. In 1991, he was elected to the Board of Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union in Spartanburg, SC.  Later in 2004, he was elected as the Board Chairman. Isaac is the first African American to be elected to the Board.
Isaac’s leadership has been instrumental in creating a Board that represents the diversity of the membership including age, race and gender. Isaac served as the Chairman of the South Carolina Credit Union League’s Diversity Committee and as a League Board member.
Isaac is also a founding member of the African-American Credit Union Coalition, serving as its first Secretary.
Other community activities include:
– Chairman Board of Deacons St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church
– Board member SC Workforce Initiative Board
– President Kiwanis Club of Spartanburg
– Member Board Habitat for Humanity
– Member Sparkle City Transparent Men, an interdenominational
Men’s Bible study / Fellowship Ministry
– Member Transitional Living Advisory Board Hope Center for Children
– Member One Spartanburg Entrepreneurial Action Team
Isaac is a graduate of Livingstone College, and is married with one son.

Maurice R. Smith

Maurice Smith is the President/CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union. LGFCU is a financial cooperative serving the financial needs of employees, appointed officials, elected officeholders and volunteers of local governments in North Carolina.

Smith began his career in financial services as a loan officer for State Employees’ Credit Union. Smith served in several capacities including vice-president/city executive and vice-president of marketing and training. Smith joined LGFCU in 1992 as the Executive Vice-President and was promoted to President in 1999.

Smith received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and earned a Juris Doctorate from the NC Central University School of Law.

Smith is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, the District of Columbia and before the United States Supreme Court. Smith is also a North Carolina Certified Superior Court Mediator.

Smith achieved a NC Real Estate Brokers License, Certified Credit Union Executive Designation and attended several management and marketing schools.

Smith and his wife have two children and live in Cary, North Carolina. He is a Deacon at Wake Chapel Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and participates in several community and civic activities.

Smith is a self-proclaimed cooperative nerd. He believes that a business model that empowers its members to engage in democratic, self-help, classless principles is superior to other business types. As a fan of credit union ideals, Smith is avid about his beliefs.

Memberships & Activities:
Member, Board of Directors, Credit Union National Association
Member, Board of Directors, National Cooperative Bank
Member, Board of Directors, NCLM Local Leadership Foundation
Member, Administrative Board, Filene Research Institute
Member, Board of Trustees University of NC Wilmington
Member, NC State Bar, Tenth Judicial District
Member, US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Member, United States Supreme Court Bar
Member, District of Columbia Bar
Member, NC State Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association