Barry Jolette has worked to spread the benefits of credit union membership at local, state, national, and international levels.
This is the video shown at the 2007 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards, where Jolette was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award by the National Credit Union Foundation.
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"Barry Jolette is most deserving of this highest honor awarded by the credit union movement," says National Credit Union Foundation Awards & Recognition Committee Chairman Bob Schumacher, emcee of the 19th Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards.
Jolette's Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes his service as an innovative regulator, credit union advocate, national leader, and international ambassador.
Famous for seven-day work weeks, Jolette led the National Credit Union Administration's effort to qualify credit unions for federal deposit insurance. And as NCUA's Western Regional Director, Jolette was first to use call report data to assign regulatory staff to help credit unions work through issues.
But in 19 years at NCUA, he didn't rely solely on data. Described by people he regulated as "a numbers guy with a heart," Jolette relied on instinct, treating people with a keen sense of fairness.
Jolette left NCUA in 1984 to help credit unions directly. For nearly two years he managed one of the first CUs to successfully emerge from NCUA conservatorship.
In 1987, Jolette became CEO of San Mateo Credit Union in Redwood City, California. Since then, SMCU has enjoyed two decades of growth that its founders may have never imagined.
But to Jolette, success is more than growth numbers. "As we've grown, Barry never lets us lose sight of our role in serving the underserved," explains SMCU Chair Donna Vaillancourt. "This year we were recognized as 'National Lending Partner of the Year' by the Ways to Work Program for providing loans for low-income parents to maintain self-sufficiency."
Jolette became such a believer in credit unions, he made a lifelong commitment to action. In the early 1990s, Jolette organized and chaired a group to promote political activities in California Credit Union League chapters. In 1995, he chaired a special task force to fight additional state taxation -- and won.
"Barry went on to become one of the finest chairmen the California League ever had -- and that's very heavy company," asserts retired president Dave Chatfield.
With CUNA's Government Affairs Committee, Jolette helped lead the nationwide campaign to pass the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998 -- enabling federal credit unions to offer affordable services to millions more Americans.
While CUNA Chairman from 2001-03, Jolette inspired tens of thousands of CU officials to get involved in regulatory advocacy, elections, "Hike the Hill" and "Project Zip Code."
"Personally and professionally, I have benefited from Barry's lifetime of achievement," affirms CUNA President & CEO Dan Mica.
Jolette now serves as 2nd Vice Chair of the World Council of Credit Unions. "Barry's drive to make healthy credit unions available around the world is commanding," reports WOCCU Chairman Gary Plank, President of the Arizona Credit Union System. "Barry is always in the forefront of any discussion on developing and strengthening credit unions nationally and worldwide."
As his nominator and 2005 Wegner Award recipient James Likens concludes, "Barry is the epitome of those who have dedicated their lives to promoting credit union philosophy, creating innovative concepts, and providing leadership that has had a significant, lasting impact on the national and international credit union movement."
Video production by:
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC