Government Employees Credit Union (GECU)
Harriet May began her credit union career as a teller nearly 40 years ago, and has risen to become the CEO of GECU – the largest credit union (and financial institution) in her native El Paso, Texas. She has been a standout cooperative leader at the state, national, and international levels. May led the charge to make home ownership available to lower income, minority members of her west Texas community by helping to establish an Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization. The CUSO’s results have been dramatic, yielding over 732 workshops, 10,700 of participants, 16,200 of first-time savings accounts opened, 8600 of families provided housing counseling, 73,372 tax returns prepared free under the VITA program, $8 million in total down payment assistance, and $23 million in total mortgage loans. She was an innovator in the area of financial literacy (she even participated in a panel discussion with the President of the United States) and she worked across the border with Mexican officials in order to put in place a system of affordable remittance services. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has looked to May in the past to valiantly defend the tax status of the US credit union movement. May retired in March 2012 and has been the recipient of the highest honors of individual achievement from both the US and international credit union movements including the Herb Wagner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement and the World Council of Credit Unions Distinguished Service Award.