Former Nationwide FCU (Now Bank) CEO Shares Thoughts What Her Plans Are Now

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The direct merger of Nationwide FCU and Nationwide Bank has been completed and the payout of some $79 million will be deposited into member accounts on Jan. 8.

Members will receive 15.26% of their total deposit account balances as of March 31, 2006 in one lump sum deposited to either a checking or savings account. As members of the credit union, they will become part of the Associate and Agency Banking Program at Nationwide Bank, according to a letter posted on the NFCU Website. "As a Nationwide Bank customer, you'll enjoy the same services that you've come to know and love from the credit union. Our mission will be to enhance these offerings to even better meet your financial needs," read the notice.

Former NFCU President Paula Edwards called the Credit Union Journal from her home in Bonita Springs, near Naples, Florida, over the holidays to say it was a done deal. "My last day was Dec. 31. I'm in Florida now, and looking forward to what comes next."

What comes next for Edwards is to first, relax, then play golf, then catch up with family and friends, she said. "I'm going to attack life. I'll be very active." Asked about credit unions, Edwards said, "I have credit unions in my DNA. I'd like to do something, but it's much too early yet to even think what it might be."

She said she'd learned a lot over the last 24 months, having to negotiate the end of almost a lifetime's work and part with colleagues she has come to love over the years (Edwards has been at NFCU since 1975) but she has a "to- do" list with 207 items on it.

Edwards noted that her only wish was that members understood that the merger was handled with great care, and always with their best interest at the forefront. She felt it was the right thing to do, given the special circumstances. And she feels confident that the combined institution will provide a high quality of service. Still, she was sad about leaving.

Edwards wouldn't rule out working at or leading another credit union. "Maybe I'll volunteer to serve on a board or perhaps work in promoting financial literacy; I've always been active in the CCC (Consumer Credit Counseling). But I think I'll be involved in either credit unions or non-profits in some way."

Edwards gave a rose to her husband, Dennis Noice, "He's been so wonderful throughout this whole thing," noting the long hours spent in the transition. "It has been fairly consuming," she said. They have three step-children and a lot of fun things planned, including travel.

"So it'll be a new life in a new year," Edwards said. (c) 2007 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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