After 40 Years And Diverse Career, Calif. League's Chatfield To Retire

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A 40-year career in the credit union movement will come to a close April 1, 2006, when David Chatfield, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, retires.

Chatfield, who has been president and CEO of the California CU League since March 1991 and added leadership of the Nevada League in 1996, told The Credit Union Journal he is looking forward to a "busy next 12 months, then time to smell the roses."

"It is a good time to think about moving on," he said. "Every organization benefits from a fresh perspective. Also, there have been some issues with my wife's health, which moved up my timetable a couple of years."

Chatfield said he and his wife, Kris, will spend summers in their log home in Alaska near the Kenai River, where the world-record salmon are caught. They are building a house in Hawaii where they will live during the winter. The couple has four grown children, two of whom are in credit unions.

Diana Dykstra, CEO of San Francisco Fire Credit Union and chairman of the California League, said in a prepared statement she is "devastated" Chatfield is stepping down, but she revels "in the knowledge that his legacy will provide inspiration and guidance for our future."

"When I think of Dave and what he has given to the credit union movement throughout his tenure in California and Nevada, I realized he has made an indelible imprint on the success of the movement," she said. "At the onset of implementing his bold and creative initiatives, many in the industry view them as tenuous or questionable, only to realize later that he attains spectacular results, and they find themselves emulating his strategies on a state or national level."

Chatfield has had many pioneering moments in his four-decade career, including being the first director of political action in CUNA's Washington office in 1976. In 1978, Chatfield, along with his family, moved 5,000 miles west of Washington, D.C., to become president of the Alaska CU League. After two years in that post, he spent eight years with Alaska USA Credit Union as senior vice president before traversing the continent once again in a return to D.C after President Reagan appointed him to the NCUA board.

In the 1990s, he traveled to Eastern Europe. There, he helped craft legislation for the CU movement in Poland and he worked with officials in Hungary to help establish credit unions.

In 1992, Chatfield founded the California League's Shapiro Group, which provides special assistance to smaller credit unions.

Chatfield is a CUES Hall of Fame inductee, recipient of the Herb Wegner Memorial Award, and double-honoree by the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. In addition to the AACUL's Eagle Award, he recently was given the Eugene H. Farley League Leadership Award for his "innovation in products and service, serving smaller credit unions, political advocacy, financial literacy, professional education, and serving the Hispanic community."

According to Chatfield, a search committee is being formed, and the process has begun to find his replacement. He said he is willing to help the committee "however they want me to."

Asked about the state of the CCUL as he prepares to depart, Chatfield declared: "This league is in such wonderful hands. We have a great board and staff. The progressive credit unions in California will continue to lead the way."

Dave Chatfield's Career

1965-68 - credit committee/board member for Englewood FCU, Colorado

1968-75 - field representative, CUNA Mutual Insurance Group

1976-78 - director of political action for CUNA

1978-80 - president, Alaska CU League

1980-88 - senior VP, Alaska USA CU

1988-89 - NCUA board member

1989-91 - executive director, Filene Research Institute

1991-Present - president and CEO of the California CU League (in 1996 also took over as CEO of Nevada CUL)

1999 -Board member, WOCCU (left position earlier this year)

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