Hollen Sees Move To CO-OP Network As A Homecoming

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Stan Hollen is coming home.

After a relatively brief stint as CEO at the Moundsville, Minn.-based Liberty Enterprises, Hollen is returning to California, where he previously lived while CEO at The Golden 1 CU, to become CEO of The CO-OP Network.

Hollen's move to The CO-OP Network comes after overseeing the sale of Liberty Enterprises to Harland.

Hollen said it isn't just the California aspect that makes this feel like a homecoming.

"It kind of feels like coming home, though I love the Midwest and Minnesota," Hollen told The Credit Union Journal. "But even more, it's being part of the credit union movement. Liberty is very focused on serving credit unions, but even though The CO-OP is a vendor, it is much closer aligned to the credit union movement as the largest CUSO."

And that connection to credit unions is important to a man who has been part of the movement in one form or another for 33 years, since he was first elected to the board of a credit union when he was 19.

But working at Liberty Enterprises was an important experience upon which he will draw in his new post at The CO-OP.

"It was interesting to still be working with credit unions but from the vendor side of the aisle," Hollen related. "Even with its focus on credit unions, Liberty is a for-profit enterprise, so it was important to learn about that. Liberty has expertise in manufacturing and has multiple divisions, and it was a good experience to be running multiple operations at the same time. As a for-profit, it had a very different corporate culture.

"While at Liberty, we sold FiTECH to OSI and then brought MyDAS into the Liberty family, and that was a great experience, and I gained a lot of insight from that process, as well. Working at Liberty was very different from what I had done previously. It's a national company, and that's a very important experience to take with me to The CO-OP."

Hollen will need all of that experience, plus his tenure at CEFCU and The Golden 1, when he steps up to the plate at The CO-OP, where he will have very big shoes to fill, he noted.

"I've known (CEO) Bob [Rose] for many years. The CO-OP has had a great run with Bob, and he has built a strong team of people here," he offered. "Really, The CO-OP grew up with Bob. He will continue to have a role as an ambassador representing The CO-OP in its efforts for Children's Miracle Network."

Given the strong success The CO-OP has had, Hollen said, his call will be to build upon that success. "We are always looking at opportunities to improve the services we provide to credit unions and continue the current growth in shared branches, the ATM network and EFT services," he said, noting that his experience helping to start up FSCC will serve him well as The CO-OP looks to strengthen its shared branching efforts.

In fact, given the breadth of his experience in credit union land, it is ironic that Hollen has never served on the board of The CO-OP.

"I've been on the board of just about everything else-Wescorp, CU Direct, the California League, CUNA," he noted. "The CO-OP is probably about the only (credit union-related) entity I wasn't on the board of, though the Golden 1 is the largest ATM deployer in The CO-OP Network."

Though Hollen has never served on The CO-OP's board, he shares the board's clear determination to remain focused on the credit union movement.

"It says a lot about The CO-OP's direction and commitment to credit unions that board decided to fill this position with someone like me, with a broad credit union background."

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