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 October '18September '18
# of CUs5,6475,653
Total Assets
($ billions)
Total Savings
($ billions)
Net Cap.
Loans to Savings85.8%85.5%
Loan Delinq.0.6%0.7%

         Credit Union Indicators

Lead Together

Three leadership lessons from Firefly Credit Union's Bill Raker.

Bill Raker held a humble mindset when he took over the top job at the former US Federal Credit Union in 1997.

"I felt really fortunate," he says.

In the first meeting he held with his leadership team, Raker stressed togetherness.

He told them, "What we achieve and how we achieve it won't be all about Bill Raker. It's going to be about our credit union and our leadership team. We'll make key decisions in a collaborative way. I want your input. I want your feedback. I want you to tell me the things that I don't want to hear. We're going to make this a great credit union, but we're going to do it together."

During Raker's tenure, the Burnsville, Minn.-based credit union grew to $1.3 billion in assets and successfully rebranded, changing its name to Firefly Credit Union in 2016.

True to form, during the name change—which Raker calls a career highlight—the process was open and collaborative. The naming committee included staff of all ages and from each area of the organization.

"There's a lot of work involved in doing a rebranding and a name change, so it helps when you can get people engaged and motivated," Raker says. "Our employees were behind it 100%. When we had the reveal meeting, employees actually stood and cheered. It was a really positive, emotional event for us."

Raker, who will retire at year's end, offers three leadership lessons he's learned along the way:

1. Embrace integrity and transparency. "Say what you're going to do and do it. If it doesn't work, take responsibility for it," he says. "If it can be corrected, correct it. If it just needs to be dropped, drop it and move on."

2. Seek breadth of knowledge. The more exposure you get to different areas of the credit union, the better off you'll be as CEO.

3. Surround yourself with those who can help you create a vision. "I want my leadership team to be involved in developing the mission and the strategies around it," Raker says.