July 17, 2012
Brooke Van Vleet assumed the vacant president/CEO position at St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union in St. Helens, Ore., last week. Van Vleet brings 20 years of credit union leadership experience to the 15,000-member financial institution.
In her first official action, Van Vleet recommended—and the St. Helen’s board of directors agreed—the termination of a recently announced letter of intent to explore a merger with Wauna Federal Credit Union (WFCU), another healthy, similar-sized credit union headquartered in nearby Clatskanie, Ore.
The boards of both financial institutions announced intentions to discuss a possible merger in June, at a time when SHCFCU was without a CEO. Former CEO Jeffrey Schwarz left the credit union last spring, and Van Vleet joined SHCFUC July 9, 2012.
“My focus needs to be on the day-to-day operations and getting up to speed quickly on current initiatives,” Van Vleet said.
Van Vleet most recently served as chief administrative officer at First Tech Federal Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore. Prior to First Tech’s merger with Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union, Van Vleet held the reins as First Tech’s interim president and CEO.
“My roots in the Pacific Northwest credit union community are firmly entrenched, so the opportunity to lead an Oregon-based credit union was a natural step for me after leaving First Tech,” Van Vleet said.
“We’re thrilled to have someone with Brooke’s background join the St. Helen’s team,” said Lea Chitwood, chairman of the St. Helen’s board. “She brings a new perspective to the credit union, and her strong leadership skills will be an asset to our organization.”
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