Retired President and CEO, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
Rudy Hanley’s contributions to the credit union movement span more than 38 years and are characterized by his deep commitment focusing on member service and the cooperative principles instead of the bottom line.
Hanley is most well-known for his 31 years as President and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, formerly known as Orange County Teachers Credit Union, during which time he grew a single-location credit union with $150 million in assets into the largest credit union for school employees in the U.S. with 45 branches in California, $10 billion in assets and 600,000 members. While his colleagues talk mostly about his qualities as a teacher, mentor and leader, he emphasizes the contribution of the team, board and credit union movement. Recently deceased and former President and CEO of Wescorp, Richard Johnson, said Hanley has a talent for developing the depth and strength of others, “making leaders out of otherwise ordinary people.”
Hanley’s path to SchoolsFirst FCU began when he was a teacher at Alhambra High School near Los Angeles. While teaching, he completed a law degree and then moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), defending credit unions’ tax-exempt status, which inspired him to become an advocate of the cooperative model in financial services. Hanley returned to California to lead the research and development department of the California Credit Union League before joining SchoolsFirst FCU in 1982.
Under Hanley’s direction, SchoolsFirst FCU instituted multiple financial products tailored to meet the needs of its school employee membership, including a low interest rate credit card with a summer skip-a-payment option; a savings program designed for school employees on a 10-11 month pay schedule; zero percent uniform and classroom supplies loans; and a school employee mortgage loan with no PMI, low down payment and reduced fees.
Hanley continually focused on the overall well-being of the Credit Union’s members and their families. He developed extensive financial education programs and workshops for members and rallied credit union colleagues to fund the PBS financial literacy program Biz Kid$.
Hanley embraced technology, bringing ATMs and other electronic services to the membership. He was a founding member of Open Financial Solutions (OFS), involved in research and development of technology solutions for credit unions.
He also understood the importance of political advocacy. He championed member-owned cooperatives on Capitol Hill, helping pass a bill to protect the right of people to choose their financial institutions and ensuring Congress did not tax credit unions.
By focusing on people rather than the bottom line, Hanley created what Daniel Mica, principal of the DMA Group and past CEO of CUNA called “a significant and lasting legacy of promoting the credit union philosophy.”