LAFCU CEO Robin Frucci announces retirement
Monday, March 7, 2016
Posted by: Eric Dimoff
Career has spanned 30 years of putting people first, supporting credit union industry
LAFCU CEO Robin Frucci has announced he will retire effective March 31, 2016, ending a credit union career that has spanned more than 30 years. The individual chosen to succeed Frucci will be announced March 15, 2016.
Frucci began his career in lending at LAFCU in the 1980s, moving to Educational Employees Credit Union, now Educational Community Credit Union, Kalamazoo, in 1991 as vice president of lending. In 1995 he was named CEO of OMNI Family Credit Union, now OMNI Community Credit Union, Battle Creek, and in 2005 he rejoined LAFCU as CEO.
“Robin is a stalwart credit union advocate, and his decades of contributions will long be felt in our credit union, our state and our industry,” said Harold Foster, chairman of LAFCU’s board of directors. “We will truly miss his rare combination of intellect, patience and dedication.”
Throughout his career, Frucci said that he has adhered to two management tenets.
“My overriding passion is to take care of the members we already have first and to take care of our employees,” he said.
Frucci believes that while tangible member services such as technology upgrades and new branches are important, old-fashioned compassion and common sense remain essential to keeping members.
“Educating, counseling and correcting or avoiding a problem are preferable to denying a loan or sending a member to collections,” he said. “Credit union members from all economic levels deserve equal treatment. It is our responsibility to anticipate the financial fallout for members and find ways to keep people afloat during economic disasters like recessions or strikes. For example, LAFCU offers credit-rebuilding loans designed to help members restore their credit and begin anew.”
With regard to taking care of one’s staff, Frucci said, “The biggest responsibility of a leader is paying employees a living wage with benefits — health insurance and retirement funds — and recognizing that their strengths comprise the cornerstone of a company’s success. Low turnover provides comfort to all staff members. At LAFCU, we know everyone by name. Happy, quality employees are what our members expect.”
Accomplishments at LAFCU
During Frucci’s 11-year tenure as CEO, LAFCU assets increased 34 percent, equity grew 54 percent and the credit union’s membership also grew, increasing 11 percent to nearly 60,000.
A notable achievement for Frucci includes changing LAFCU’s federal charter to one issued by the state, enabling the expansion of its service geography from the tri-county area to 11 counties in mid- and southern Michigan. He also oversaw the 2013 merger with Centel Credit Union, Owosso, which added two LAFCU branch offices in Shiawassee County.
Credit union industry champion
As a long-standing credit union champion, Frucci has worked to improve and strengthen the industry. One such accomplishment was achieved while serving as board chairman for Central Corporate Credit Union (CenCorp), Michigan’s credit union for credit unions. During the recent recession, Frucci succeeded in gaining the approval of more than 280 credit unions for the 2013 merger of CenCorp with Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union, Warrenville, Illinois, a move that ultimately formed a stronger corporate credit union.
“The CenCorp-Alloya merger illustrates Robin’s visionary leadership and exemplifies how his steady hand provided stability and security during a turbulent time for financial institutions in our country,” Foster said.
Also notable are Frucci’s contributions to Member Driven Technologies (MDT), a credit union service organization (CUSO) that specializes in information technology solutions. Frucci joined the MDT board of directors in 2005 and has been chairman since 2012.
Under his leadership, MDT became one of the largest CUSOs in the country, providing technical services to 150 credit unions in 28 states and aggregating its massive purchasing power to help participating credit unions lower their costs of operations. In the past 10 years, MDT has grown from 15 employees to nearly 150 employees today.
Other organizations in the credit union industry and community in which Frucci has been actively involved include WKAR, Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union and Member First Mortgage CUSO as a board member; Credit Union Executives Society as a member; and Michigan Credit Union League as a committee member and alternate board member.