Category Archives: HOF Members

Lilian Priest

Lillian Priest (April 14, 1954 – September 6, 2014) was a woman of irrepressible style and exuberant spirit. Lillian Priest was true to the credit union movement. “People helping people” was her motto. She was brought into the credit union cooperative movement early in her adult life when she joined Shreveport Federal Credit Union. Lillian Priest had been a volunteer at Shreveport Federal Credit Union serving on various committees, and the last eight years of her life, she served on their Board and held the position of Secretary.

Lillian worked for the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) for over 10 years and was a major contributor to the growth and professional development of the organization.  Her dedication and commitment to AACUC was unparalleled. She increased the membership during her tenure, and continued to develop and further reinforce the AACUC mission which is “to increase the strength of the global credit union movement”.

Much of her life was selflessly devoted to public service. She served in various capacities in city government, including Executive Assistant to Mayor John Hussey and as Director of the Department of Urban Development. Upon leaving city government she began her own entrepreneurial endeavor and became the co-owner and Marketing & Development Officer of JaLi`Ve Enterprises, LLC.

In November 2004, Lillian Priest was first elected to the Caddo Parish School Board, District 7; she served as President of the Board for two terms. Her board tenure is marked by her passionate advocacy for educational excellence for all children.

Lillian generously shared her time and talents with a host of community and civic organizations including: Chair of the Caddo Parish Democratic Party, Crimestoppers Shreveport, Sci-Port Discovery, Downtown Rotary Club and others.

Lillian received her BA from Northwestern State University and continued study toward a Master of Liberal Arts degree at LSU-Shreveport.

Albert Maurice Moody

Albert Maurice Moody Sr. is the founder of the Caddo Parish Teachers Federal Credit Union where he retired after forty years as CEO/Treasurer. Mr. Moody retired from the credit union in 2003. Moody was not only a pioneer in the credit union industry but also an educator. He was the Assistant Dean of Men at Southern University in Baton Rouge and a four year commissioned officer in the United States Army. He retired from the Army Reserve as a Lt. Colonel.

Mr. Moody was employed by the Caddo Parish School Board for forty years as a teacher of mathematics at Central Colored High School and Booker T. Washington High School. He was the principal of Hollywood Elementary School and Bethune Junior-Senior High School. Prior to coming to Shreveport, he served as principal of Mulatto Bend Elementary School, West Baton Rouge Parish,

Rosemary Brinkley

Rosemary Brinkley
Chair, Board of Directors
Over 40 years of service to the education community and credit union movement

EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Greenbelt, Maryland
Over $850 million in Assets; 87,000 Members; 12 Branches
Serving the Education Community in Seven Maryland Counties

OVERVIEW
Rosemary Brinkley has served on the Board of Directors of Educational Systems Federal Credit Union for over 40 years. Throughout the decades, she has led change by setting a positive example for members, employees and the entire Maryland education community. Mrs. Brinkley leads with a very simple philosophy in mind, “we can do better.”

Mrs. Brinkley lives the credit union mantra of “people helping people.” During the 60th Annual Meeting of Educational Systems FCU, she stated that one of the main reasons she became involved in the Credit Union was that she wanted to find a way to help educators struggling to make financial ends meet while raising families.

Throughout her years of service, Mrs. Brinkley has remained focused on helping members of the education community. Mrs. Brinkley has helped the Credit Union remain focused on its core purpose of serving the education community. It is who we are and what we do. Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership has inspired the Credit Union to conduct business like our members approach educating others – we believe in making a difference.

Under Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership as Chair of the Board of Directors at Educational Systems FCU, the Credit Union has grown from $63 million in assets in 1986 to over $850 million today. Throughout her tenure, Mrs. Brinkley has led unprecedented growth and change for both the Credit Union and the education community. The Credit Union now has 12 branches and serves 87,000 members in seven school systems and three community colleges throughout Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Talbot counties in Maryland. These achievements have been accomplished because of Mrs. Brinkley’s strategic vision, her unwavering commitment to the education and credit union communities and her promise that we can do better. Mrs. Brinkley is a true champion of education and credit unions!

Accomplishments of the inductee
Serving the Education Community with a Commitment to Support Education
Serving the education community is not just the core purpose of the Credit Union but also a personal belief of Mrs. Brinkley. During her 33-year career in education, Mrs. Brinkley was an educator, administrator and leader in two public school systems in Maryland. In 2013, Mrs. Brinkley was honored by the MD|DC Credit Union Association as the Volunteer of the Year for her accomplishments of serving the education community and living the mission of the Credit Union – to grow by helping members of the education community achieve their financial goals and dreams.

Mrs. Brinkley has instilled her commitment to helping the education community in our Credit Union. Everything we do is centered on our ideal and belief to support education. This means helping all members of the education community including employees of the school systems and community colleges we serve, parents and students from kindergarten through post-secondary education. Support education is our mantra and the basis for all of our community and public relations efforts and events throughout the year. For us, it’s an honor to support education. It is who we are and what we do. We are proud to serve the members of the education community and the extraordinary people who share a remarkable commitment to making a difference every day.

In 2015, Educational Systems FCU sponsored 115,000 students from 350 elementary schools in its baseball reading program, donated 6,500 backpacks to middle school students in need and awarded over $40,000 in scholarships to local students and educators. In addition to sponsorships and ongoing philanthropic initiatives to support education, Educational Systems FCU supports its employees to live the mantra of support education. In 2015, 100 employees volunteered over 750 hours to support local school reading programs, spelling bees and science fairs and to provide financial education seminars to further support education within our community.

Over the years, Educational Systems FCU has won numerous awards for its products and services designed to meet the unique needs of the education community and its unwavering dedication to support education through sponsorship, volunteerism and charitable giving. In 2015, the Credit Union was the recipient of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility by the MD|DC Credit Union Association for its philanthropic efforts to support education. Earlier this summer, the MD|DC Credit Union Association presented the CUNA Louise Herring “Philosophy-in-Action” Award to the Credit Union for its Summer Pay account, which helps teachers save during the school year while earning a high rate of return, so they have the money they need in the summer when they do not receive a regular paycheck.

Mrs. Brinkley’s dedication to the education community is also demonstrated by her other volunteer activities. The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education applauded Mrs. Brinkley’s community outreach and participation by presenting her with their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. Mrs. Brinkley has also served her alma mater, Hampton University, as a Trustee and served on the National Hampton Alumni Association Board.

Financial Education
Mrs. Brinkley has always understood the importance of financial education. Early in her career, she was one of the few public school educators to teach her students how to create a budget and set financial goals. Her passion to help the members of the education community to make sound financial decisions is what led her to serve at the Credit Union, and she continues to directly interact with members regarding this topic today. For this reason, the Credit Union focuses on providing financial education to members of the education community through in-person counseling, financial education seminars and online tools and resources.

The Credit Union has made a tremendous difference in the financial lives of members by helping them learn how to manage their money. Under Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership in 2011, Educational Systems FCU was honored by the Education Credit Union Council (ECUC), CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, and MD|DC Credit Union Association for “Best Youth Marketing” for the implementation of the FoolProof® Program which the Credit Union made available at no cost to high school and community college teachers in the counties it serves. Today, the Credit Union offers Foolproof in 60 schools, helping over 1,500 students and provided over 100 financial education seminars to nearly 2,000 members throughout the education community last year.

Members First
A true leader is the one who picks the right people to be part of the team. Over the years, Mrs. Brinkley has recruited individuals to volunteer on the Board of Directors who share her passion and vision for serving the members of the Credit Union and the education community. Mrs. Brinkley has been committed to ensuring that the Credit Union’s volunteers are diverse in their strengths and points of view, while also sharing her commitment to serving the education community. Mrs. Brinkley’s priority of putting the members’ needs first and focusing on long-term success when making decisions has been a hallmark of her leadership and has shaped the culture at Educational Systems FCU.

Commitment to serve the african American community
Promoting Diversity and Strengthening Financial Lives
During her years of service to Educational Systems FCU, Rosemary Brinkley has led the way for diversity and growth in the credit union movement. Over 40 years ago when Mrs. Brinkley started her first term on our Board of Directors, she was one of the few African American women serving on credit union boards in the area. “Women, especially African American women, were rarely seen on credit union boards back then,” stated Mrs. Brinkley. “In addition, it was not expected that women would speak up and bring forth new ideas.” Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership has changed that perception for our Credit Union and for the credit union movement. Her willingness to speak up on important issues in a constructive way has resulted in her being sought out for leadership positions at the Credit Union and other organizations. In fact, early in her tenure on the Board, she was elected to Vice Chair, and she continued in this role for most of the next 15 years. In 1986, she was elected Chair of the Board and has continued in this role for the majority of the years since. During her tenure, she has regularly promoted diversity when seeking qualified volunteers to ensure that the Board reflects the Credit Union’s membership. To her credit, Educational Systems FCU was featured in a case study regarding board diversity in a 2008 white paper on highly performing boards.

Another credit union organization in which Mrs. Brinkley pioneered racial diversity was the Education Credit Union Council (ECUC). The Board members of Educational Systems FCU are passionate about serving the education community and have been big supporters of the ECUC over the years. Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. Brinkley became the first African American director on the ECUC Board in 1993 and was elected Chair for the last year of her term in 1997. During and after her tenure in office, Mrs. Brinkley has continued to encourage minority participation in the ECUC.

SUMMARY
During Mrs. Brinkley’s 40 plus years of service to Educational Systems Federal Credit Union, 87,000 members of the education community have had access to a strong and growing credit union with the core purpose of serving the education community. Under her leadership, the Credit Union has remained steadfast in its commitment to support education and to make a difference in the financial lives of our members.

It is a great honor and with much pride that I, Chris Conway, President/CEO, on behalf of Educational Systems FCU, nominate our Chair, Rosemary Brinkley, for the African American Credit Union Coalition Hall of Fame.

Annie Wilma Vamper

When Annie Wilma Vamper passed away on May 19, 1990, the community development credit union movement lost one of its heroes — and an important part of its history. For more than 30 years, Annie Vamper served in virtually every role that the credit union movement has to offer. Born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1933, she started as a volunteer with the College City Elks Lodge FCU in 1958. By 1962, she began working with the M.C.E. FCU, where she served as manager until 1966.

During the War on Poverty in the 1960s, Annie was recruited to become the Credit Union Coordinator for Dade Economic Opportunity Program in Florida, where she organized, chartered, and trained the staff of twelve neighborhood credit unions. Her work caught the attention of the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, and she became a Limited-Income Credit Union Specialist for the Southeast Region. She joined the team of Project Moneywise, to promote consumer education and cooperation among low-income people. In 1972, as the nation began to turn away from the problems of the poor, Annie returned to managing a credit union, Coulter Electronics Employees FCU, where she served for 8 years before being recruited again by the National Credit Union Administration.

With the passage of the Community Development Credit Union Revolving Loan Fund, NCUA moved to establish a new CDCU division, and Annie became its second in command. But by 1982, the office was dissolved, a victim of deregulation and the ebbing interest in programs to help the poor. Annie accepted a transfer to New Jersey, where she entered into training to become a field examiner for NCUA. But by this time, her unique skills and interest no longer were valued by the agency. In September 1983, she left NCUA for the last time.

It was then that she came to the National Federation of CDCUs, joining its only remaining staff member, Cliff Rosenthal, in the rebuilding the Federation. She became Associate Director — and chief financial officer, Capitalization Program staff, regulatory analyst, and “godmother” to half a dozen new CDCUs formed during the 1980s.

Until her death in 1990, she gave every ounce of her strength, her commitment, and her love to the CDCU movement. In 1993, the “Helping Hands” Award was created to honor Annie Vamper’s memory, along with the dedication of the Federation’s training center at our New York City headquarters.

The “Helping Hands” Award celebrates those individuals whose unselfish work for the CDCU movement carry-on Annie’s legacy.

Barbara Stephens

Barbara Stephens was introduced to the credit union industry in 1976 as a teller at San Diego County Credit Union. It was there that she realized the true meaning of the credit union’s philosophy “People Helping People.” This inspired her so that she decided to make the credit union industry her career. She quickly excelled by advancing in numerous positions.

In 1979 Stephens moved from San Diego to Houston. In Houston she continued her professional passion, love for “the – CREDIT UNION MOVEMENT.” She served as Branch Manager of IBM Credit Union, Vice-President of Met Tran Federal Credit Union and later promoted to President.

In September 1992, Stephens became the first African-American to hold the position of President/CEO at Houston Municipal Employees Credit Union.   With 39 years in the credit union industry serving on various boards and committees, Stephens has made a tremendous impact, not only in the State of Texas, but on the national level.

In 2009, Stephens was selected as a recipient of the Cornerstone Award by NAFCU, presented with a “Shining Star” award by the Galena Park/Houston Metroplex Chapter of the National Women of Achievement. She has served on the Texas Credit Union League Board, Credit Union Managers Association, and Houston Chapter of CU’s. Today, she is serving on the African American Credit Union Coalition Board of Directors of which she received the Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, Chair of the CDIP Committee for the National Federation of CDCU’s and Board Member of the Shadow Creek Ranch Homeowners Association.

Stephens, a survivor and fighter has always been ready to meet a challenge whether in her professional, community or personal life. According to Credit Union Times reporter Michelle Samaad, “if anyone can look a challenge squarely in the eye, decide right away to conquer it and come out shining on the other end, its’ Barbara Stephens.”   In November 2005, Stephens was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her reaction…”either I’m going to let it defeat me or I’m going to beat it.” That was Ten years ago, a survivor and fighter.

Barbara is married to Reginald Stephens and has 4 children, four grandchildren and one Great Grandbaby. She is a proud member of the Fort Bend Church in Sugarland under the Leadership of Pastor Byron C. Stevenson.

Dr. Birdex Copeland, Jr.

Dr. Birdex Copeland, Jr. – is Chairman of the Board at Shreveport Federal Credit union, a position he has held since 1999.

Copeland has served the credit union movement as a volunteer for over 40 years.  He is a graduate of Grambling State University with his BA degree and has a PhD from Kansas State University.    He served as Dean of the School of Social Work at Grambling State University (1992-2001), responsible for nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate programs.  He considers his efforts toward the “people helping people” emphasis in the credit union movement as an extension of his professional role as a social worker.  Serving the “underserved” is an important mission.

A visionary and a leader, Dr. Copeland, led the credit union as it adopted a successful Community Development Strategy serving Low to Moderate Income people across two of the most distressed states…Louisiana and Mississippi.

Shreveport Federal Credit Union proudly boosts many successes under Dr. Copeland’s reign:

  • 8 full service branches
  • Developing a program to help small, emerging businesses
  • 2 financial empowerments (one in Louisiana and one in Mississippi) to help members learn about finances and financial freedom
  • Building a multi-million-dollar corporate office adjacent to the busy Auto Mall in South Shreveport
  • Reaching the $100 Million milestone in assets
  • Merger with two credit unions in the Mississippi Delta
  • Annual Club Prestige activities, including trips, luncheons, seminars, etc. for credit union members ages 50 and above
  • Achievement of CDFI status, with emphasis on helping the underserved and low income segments of the population.

Dr. Copeland is a huge advocate for the credit union movement and a true believer that a board must be trained, must be knowledgeable of credit union compliance and current events and must plan for the future.

Married to Lolita Collins-Copeland, Dr. Copeland is the father of two children (Brian Copeland & Beryl Washington) and grandfather of two (Virginia and Lea).

A.A. “Paddy” Bailey

For nearly five decades the name of A.A. “Paddy” Bailey was synonymous with international savings and credit cooperative development. A true visionary, Bailey dedicated himself to the promotion of co-ops, in particular credit unions.

Bailey started as an inspector of co-ops in Jamaica, becoming the leading organizer of credit unions there. He joined CUNA International in the 1950s, rising to become executive director of its World Extension Department.  While at CUNA Bailey was responsible for the development of credit union leagues throughout the West Indies and the formation of the first regional credit union organization. His talents and enthusiasm for co-op philosophy were later applied in Africa, where he helped to found the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Associations.

Bailey became the first full-time managing director of the World Council of Credit Unions in 1975, where he continued to be an innovative leader and co-op advocate.

Through his career and throughout his life, Bailey has been instrumental in spreading the word about the value of cooperation, and developing many new credit unions, credit union leagues and other institutions.

Michael Hale

Michael Hale is the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, over Cards, Collections and Fraud Mitigation at Arizona Federal Credit Union. In 2015, The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), awarded Michael Hale the AACUC’s Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hale, a U.S. Army veteran and a Bronze Star Recipient, has been devoted to the credit union movement since 1975. His hard work and dedication lead to the advancement of numerous credit unions as well as the AACUC.  Hale’s leadership skills and hard work lead to the legal formation of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) in 1999.
He previously served as the President and CEO of Andrews Federal Credit Union for over 12 years. The credit union grew to over $700 million in assets and expanded into underserved areas of Washington, DC under his leadership. A sampling of Hale’s additional credit union related accomplishments include being the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), service on the National Federation of Community Development Credit Union’s Capitalization Program Committee, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Regulatory Affairs Committee, and the Arizona Credit Union League Board of Directors. He was also a member of the Filene Research Institute Council and a Board Member of the Credit Union Executives Society.
As an active volunteer, Hale has donated his time to numerous community organizations, including serving as chairman of the Mentorship Education Network At Risk Youth Program, vice chairman of the 100 Black Men of Phoenix, director of the Glendale Boys & Girls Club and chairman of the Greater Phoenix Urban League.  The 100 Black Men of Phoenix created the Michael Hale Scholarship named in his honor.

Herman Williams

Mr. Herman Williams Jr. is the Chairman of the Board for MECU of Baltimore, Inc., Baltimore, MD. He has been in the credit union movement for 25 years.

Accomplishments of Mr. Herman Williams, Jr.

  • Chairman Herman Williams Jr. (known as the “Chief’) began his membership as a credit union member in 1954 when he joined the Baltimore City Fire Department. He was elected to the MECU Board of Directors in 1990 and quickly established himself as a strong advocate for the average member. He was elected Chairman of the Board in 1992, a position he has held for the past 23 years.
  • During Herman’s tenure as Chairman, MECU has grown from $325 million in assets in 1992 to $1.2 billion at the end of 2014. The membership has also grown from 52,515 members in 1992 to over 117,000 members currently. MECU’s one branch system has grown to ten branches, with an extensive network of ATMs and competitive products and services.
  • Chairman Williams was a driving force in the Recodification of the Credit Union Law that had not been changed since 1936. Beginning in 1997, he brought together the Chairmen of the Boards of the Maryland State Charted Credit Unions to develop a plan to address these regulations in the State Legislature. He also met with the Commissioner of Financial Regulations, Robert Hergenroeder, and gained his support as well as other representatives of the Governor. His continued leadership resulted in efforts to have legislation passed creating a Task Force on the Recodification of the Credit Union Law appointed by the Governor. The Maryland Credit Union Law was rewritten and went into effect in October 2001. The passing of this new law gave parity for the Maryland Credit Unions with the Federal Chartered Credit Unions and the State Chartered Banks.
  • During his tenure, Chairman Williams has encouraged and led a community service cultural change at MECU. At the state level, MECU has repeatedly received the prestigious “Louise Herring Credit Union Philosophy in Action” Award and 9 “Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility for Community Service” Awards including a National award in 2014. Between 2003 and 2014, MECU employees directly contributed over $700,000 toward community redevelopment volunteering over 40,000 hours of their time valued at over $1,000,000. This investment of both time and money is a crucial differentiator that helps set MECU apart from other businesses in the community.

Commitment to Serve the African American Community:

  • In 2004 Chairman Williams initiated the MECU Charity Cup Golf Tournament. To date, the Charity Cup has raised over $350,000.00 that has been donated back to the communities. Proceeds from this golf tournament are also donated to 9 Baltimore City schools that MECU has partnered with over the past 10 years.
  • In 2011 under Chairman Williams’s leadership, MECU of Baltimore, Inc. received certification as a community development financial institution (CDFI). This certification is provided by the US Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund to financial institutions committed to financial inclusion and to providing access to affordable financial services in underserved communities. To obtain the certification, financial institutions must demonstrate that at least 60% of their financing activities are targeted to a qualifying target market as defined by the CDFI Fund. MECU’s certification application indicates that over 70% of its membership is low income and/or lives in economically depressed, financially underserved communities.
  • MECU has been a major sponsor of the AACUC since its beginning. In addition, MECU hires several interns each year to give them work place experience.   MECU is also a major sponsor of the Maryland/DC Credit Union Foundation and donations to the foundation are used specifically for scholarships.

Clarence Hall, Jr.

Few people in the credit union movement have ever heard of Clarence Hall, Jr., Issaquena County and the credit union he founded 44 year ago.

Clarence Hall, Jr. (born 1924) was born raised and continues to live in Issaquena County in the Mississippi Delta. His ancestors were slaves and his parents grew up on a plantation. His mother passed away when he was only 11 years old.

Working in the fields most days, Clarence was unable to attend school very often. However, he brought his books home and read them at night by the light of a kerosene lamp. This inspired his travel to Washington, D..later in life to seek funding for an early childhood development program, known today as Hea Start.

After hearing Clarence’s presentation, Senator Bobby Kennedy replied: “I have sympathy for the cause Mr. Hall, but YOU understand and know. I have never suffered for anything a day in my life.”

Despite his limited formal education, Clarence served on the Board of the Delta Area School District and currently serves as President of Western Line School Board. He strongly encouraged and promoted education in the county for all children. His daughter has four degrees and is the assistant principal at an elementary school in the Laurel Mississippi School District.

Clarence volunteered for service in the US Army where he served for 5 years during WWII. For three of those years he served in the European Theater. After returning home, he spent four years in Agriculture School at Delta College. He eventually acquired 66 acres of land that he farmed for a living.

In 1957, Clarence was the first person in Issaquena County to pay the poll tax to be eligible to vote. He appeared before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Department of Justice to discuss abolishing the poll tax and literacy test as conditions to vote. During that time, only 5 out of 1,081 blacks were registered to vote. However, 100% of white residents in Issaquena County were registered.

As an Issaquena County native, Clarence made some of the first inquiries into a NAACP law suit against the Issaquena County Board of Education for the suspension of students wearing pro‐SNCC materials in 1965. Following the ruling in Blackwell v. Issaquena that black students in Issaquena and Sharkey Counties could not be
prohibited from attending white schools, Clarence became a leader in registering black
students for historically white public schools.

He was fired from his job at Atkin Saw Mill when he went to Washington to seek a grant for the Child Development Group of MS, the forerunner of the Headstart
program. He serves on the Board of Directors.

He fought to have the county and Congressional districts redrawn to allow blacks to be elected to public office, including the Issaquena County Board of Supervisors.

Clarence was also active in a number of local chapters of important rights organizations. He worked as Project Manager for the Delta Ministry, part of the National Council of the Church of Christ. He was particularly vital as an administrative assistant to the Freedom City project beginning in 1966, an affordable housing initiative that eventually failed.

Hall served as a key mover in the implementing the Comprehensive Employment and
Training Act (CETA).For 15 years, he was an Outreach Worker and Job Placement Specialist for the Mississippi Delta Council for Farm Workers. Clarence was forced to sue the State of Mississippi for denying blacks the right to obtain charters and set‐up non‐profit organizations.

In 1969, at the age of 45 – Clarence Chartered the Issaquena County FCU. Sitting along the Mississippi River just north of Vicksburg, Issaquena is the smallest county in the state.

After the end of the Civil War, Issaquena County had the highest concentration of slaves in the nation. The county had approximately 12,000 residents, 95% of which were slaves. The other 5% were slave owners and their families.

The county population has decreased dramatically and steadily over the years. Since the chartering of the credit union in 1969, the population, which is the credit union’s field of membership, has decreased by 49%. Since 2000, the population decreased 39%. Today, there are fewer than 1,400 residents living in slightly more than 500 housing units.

Depending on the definition of poor, Issaquena is the 2nd poorest county in the nation. Over 45% of the county’s residents are living below poverty level. Per capita income is $10,581.

Issaquena County FCU is the only financial institution for low income residents of the county. There are no pawn shops, payday lenders, or finance companies. There is a bank branch where the credit union deposits money and members may cash their checks. Members obtaining loans at the credit union generally do not qualify for loans from the bank branch.

Because he knows and understands the people, for 44 Years, Clarence has served not only as Chairman of the Board, but also as President/CEO of the credit union. The NCUA has permitted Clarence to serve in both roles. The credit union simply would not be there without his leadership, commitment and vision.

For the first 36 years, Clarence did not receive a single dime for his service. During 44 years of making loans, the credit union has charged off less than $4,000 and never had as much as a penny come up missing.

Issaquena County FCU – Last CU in MS to go on a computer system In 2009, Clarence’s wife of 58 years passed away. His son, Clarence III, was being groomed to take over the credit union and he eventually talked his dad into going off the manual system.

Unfortunately, the younger Clarence passed away in October, 2009 prior to the credit union conversion at year end. With the League’s assistance, the credit union still converted to a data processing system at the end of the year.

Then in early in 2010, Ora Lee Williams, the credit union’s bookkeeper for over 30 years also passed away. This would have been the end of most small credit unions, but Mr. Hall kept the credit union alive.

At the age of 89, Clarence still performs his roles as Chairman and CEO of the Issaque-na County FCU. The international proverb of the C.U.D.E program is exactly what Clarence has sought to achiever in Issaquena County.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. “

The success of the Issaquena County FCU comes from Clarence Hall’s knowledge of those he serves, and his philosophy: “Helping People Help Themselves.”

Throughout his life, Clarence Hall has been a dedicated servant to his God, his Country, his Church, his Family and fellow Mankind. He knows and understands suffering. In a variety of ways, he has dedicated his life to providing people an opportunity to improve their own well‐being!