Credit Union CEO In Race To Become Mayor of Dover Township, N.J.

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In what he says is a natural transition, Spanish-American Credit Union CEO Javier Marin is running as the Republican Party's candidate for mayor of Dover Township, N.J.

"It's just an extension of what I do here,'' he said of his position with the CU. "I have been extremely involved with the community.''

Marin moved to Dover Township seven years ago after serving many years as a banking industry executive with Chase and Summit banks.

Quite frankly, he said, he didn't think much of credit unions back then.

"But only because I didn't have a full understanding of what a credit union was,'' he said. "I never considered credits unions could be so strong.''

When he crossed over, it wasn't long before the native of Colombia said he was drawn in by its philosophy. "It matches my personality very well,'' he said. "It's a good fit.''

Since taking charge of Spanish-American CU in October 1997, he has helped the financial institution that serves members of predominately Hispanic descent nearly double in asset size to almost $20 million. Most of the staff is bilingual.

The CU was established in 1970 to service a local church and local services organization and is now a full-fledged financial services organization. Discussion is under way to add a branch and pull in the area's large Hispanic population via a community charter. "While there are 8% Hispanics in the county, in Dover, we have 58%," he said.

All of that said, Marin said his job isn't all that different from that of the mayor.

"What we do in the credit union world is serve our members the best we can to meet their needs,'' he said. "That's also what a mayor does.''

In both positions, Marin said, "You need to understand your community.''

He has done that through his volunteer work and service on more than a dozen non-profit organizations, including the Dover Area Chamber of Commerce, Dover Community Clinic, Housing Partnership of Morris County, United Way of Morris County and Academy Street School Homework Center. He has not previously held elective office.

"(To become mayor) is just a natural extension of what I already do here (as CEO),'' he said. For that reason, and the fact that the mayoral position is only part time, he said there won't be any conflicts for time.

"The more I got involved, the more I realized there were a lot of good people here who wanted to see a better Dover,'' he said. "There are other people out there who share my dreams and aspirations.''

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