People always say Credit Unions are different than banks, but how and why is not so easily understood. One of the goals of this blog is to improve understanding about that difference, and part of doing that is getting to know the people who make up our credit union.
Just like a bank, we have a CEO, and while our CEO has a nice office and a company car, his office doubles as a conference room, and the car was purchased used. There’s no private jets or big stock options here, just a hard working person doing their best to guide staff and keep the Credit Union growing.
To find out more, The Wonderful World Of Wauna recently caught up with our own CEO, Robert Blumberg, to find out what drives him.
Though a majority of our staff at Wauna CU are lifelong Oregonians, some have come from farther away, and Robert may have come the farthest! He grew up in South Africa and came to the USA in 1980 after finishing college in Johannesburg.
“I have always been interested in numbers, and at school I excelled at Math, so in college I studied accounting.”
Robert immigrated to the United States to begin his career in the accounting department of a small bank in Los Angeles. He worked his way up to Controller, and then Chief Financial Officer (CFO) before moving on to larger banks, including time as the VP of Compliance at the First Bank of Beverly Hills.
Then, in 2000 Robert saw the “Credit Union light” and jumped ship, moving to MaPS Credit Union in Oregon as their Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Robert explains, “The motto of the credit union movement is people helping people. That speaks volumes to me – that we are not serving shareholders whose interests are to maximize their return on their investment.”
Robert came to Wauna Credit Union as CEO over eight years ago, during that tumultuous time when housing bubble had burst, and things in the financial world were in upheaval, but he held fast to the ideals of the Credit Union movement, and the reins of the Wauna Credit Union and managed to contine to grow Wauna Credit Union! We know have more than $197 million in assets and 22,000 members.
As a father of four, Robert tries to instill good money habits in his children. “I try to teach my children to be responsible with their money.” He adds, “My parents never built on their net worth and unfortunately spent all the money they earned.”
As far as his favorite Credit Union service, Robert says, perhaps not surprisingly, “Wauna’s debit card can be used all over the world and at the ATMs all over the world giving the best exchange rate. I can also access my checking account using the largest branch and ATM network at over 5,000 shared branches and 30,000 ATMs located in all 50 states. No bank in our nation can offer such a large network of branches and ATMs while at the same time offering our members a personal touch.”