Six Inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted June 3, 2016    

Photos available on MSCUA's Facebook Page.

Six Inducted into Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame

Induction into the MS Credit Union Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual within our state.  Individuals must be nominated for Hall of Fame induction consideration.  Credit unions are encouraged to recognize deserving individuals with a Hall of Fame nomination.  Nomination forms are available at

The six 2016 Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame inductees represent over 230 years of credit union service:

The late William C. Ehlers, Gulf Trust FCU
William C. Ehlers joined Hospital System Credit Union, now Gulf Trust Credit Union, in 1972 a month after the credit union’s charter was granted. He was elected to the supervisory committee in 1975, and the board of directors in 1977, serving as vice president until 1984.  From 1984 – 1987, Mr. Ehlers served as the credit union’s part-time manager, leading the rapid growth of the credit union from $1.1 million to $4.5 million in assets.

Mr. Ehlers held the position of treasurer from 1988 through 2010, and remained on the board of directors until he passed away in 2012.  Mr. Ehlers was influential in all decisions made at the credit union, and his legacy helped grow Gulf Trust Credit Union into a full service financial institution with $25 million in assets, serving more than 4,700 members.

“I was fortunate to have Mr. Ehlers’ guidance when I began working at the credit union in 1988,” said Betty Hutchinson, Gulf Trust FCU general manager.  “His knowledge, leadership and dedication inspired me to learn and grow, not just professionally, but personally as well. We are excited that Mr. Ehlers’ efforts are being recognized by his induction into the Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame.”

Bobby Laney, Navigator CU
Bobby Laney began his service as a credit committee volunteer for Ingalls Employees Credit Union, now Navigator Credit Union, in 1976. By participating in the loan approval process for members, he learned the importance of hearing personally from members about their needs and witnessed how credit union loans helped them achieve their financial goals.

In 1980, he was elected to the Board of Directors where he became vice chairman in 1987. In 1989, his peers elected him as chairman of the board, a position he held through 1990.

During his tenure as a credit union leader, Bobby played a role in many of the credit union’s achievements, including helping the credit union recover from two devastating hurricanes that both destroyed company headquarters. He has been at the forefront of change and growth, helping transform Navigator Credit Union from a single-sponsor, one-branch credit union to a dynamic organization serving members at 12 locations in 3 counties and 2 states.

Joe Pierce, MS TELCO FCU
Joe Pierce began his credit union service at Mississippi Telco Federal Credit Union in 1976. He has served on numerous committees, including the annual meeting committee, where he has been instrumental each year in making the annual membership meeting a success.

Perhaps his most noteworthy contribution to the credit union was his involvement in the building of the new location for Mississippi Telco Federal Credit Union. He worked tirelessly and diligently to ensure that the move from the old location downtown, to the brand new building in Pearl, was seamless and that everything was in impeccable condition.

Joe has innovative concepts and practical ideas about implementing those concepts. He believes in putting members’ needs first when making decisions. During his 40 years of service, his dedication to members and his passion for the credit union has been a tremendous asset, helping Mississippi Telco Federal Credit Union grow from $9 million to over $177 million in assets.

Cliff Rutland, Pine Belt FCU

Cliff Rutland began his 40 years of volunteer service with Hercules Hattiesburg Federal Credit Union, now Pine Belt Federal Credit Union, on the nominating committee in 1976. In 1982, he was elected to the board of directors, a position he holds in high regard, as evidenced by only a single board meeting absence in 34 years of board service.

Cliff has always believed that a job worth doing, is worth doing right. His leadership skills in the workplace earned him a promotion to supervisor. Cliff put the skills he developed as an employee and supervisor to work at the credit union, effectively working & communicating with members, as well as other volunteers. Despite the fact the credit union’s original sponsor closed its doors, the credit union managed to survive those difficult times, expand their field of membership, implement new services and grow from $2.9 million to over $10 million in assets.

A true volunteer at heart and always ready to give of himself to the service of others, Cliff has also served as a volunteer fireman in his community and has served 60 years as deacon in his church.

Jackie Snowden, Ferguson FCU
Jackie Snowden is part of the foundation of Ferguson Federal Credit Union. Becoming a credit union member in 1971, he joined the credit committee in 1979. In 1984, he was elected to the board, and currently services as president.

Jackie has always had an affinity for math and finance, holding numerous accounting and finance management positions during his career at Georgia Pacific. His passion for finance and serving his community has even taken him to Washington, D.C., to join the effort in stopping the taxation of credit unions. He actively continues to educate himself on current credit union and financial institution trends. Jackie has been recognized with several national credit union honors, including the Edward A. Filene Award, the Friedrich W. Raiffeson Award & the Roy F. Bergengren Award.

Jackie’s friends and colleagues refer to him as honest and engaging. He has often been called upon by credit union employees for assistance and support, and he never fails to deliver. Ferguson Federal Credit Union CEO, Leslie Pitts, said that Jackie is “genuinely dedicated to the success of the credit union and our goals. He is more than a board member; he is an active team member.”

Daniel Yeager, Pine Belt FCU
Daniel Yeager began his tenure with Hercules Hattiesburg Federal Credit Union, now Pine Belt Federal Credit Union, shortly after being employed by the credit union’s original sponsor organization, Hercules Powder Company. Starting on the credit committee in 1975, Danny served on the board of directors from 1986 to 2014, and currently serves on the credit union’s supervisory committee.

A supervisor at Hercules Powder Company, Danny was known among co-workers to have a dry humor and to be quite witty. Some say that he was asked to be a volunteer with the credit union to liven things up a bit, a role which Danny embraced and continues to full-fill today.

Strong organizational skills were instilled in Danny during three years in Europe in the Army Security Agency, and he used those skills at the credit union. Years of downsizing eventually led to the closing of the credit union’s sponsor organization, but with the help of Danny’s leadership, the credit union weathered those tough years by implementing changes that led to growth, and recently, the expansion to a new office in a thriving, growing part of town.

Credit unions recognized for milestone anniversaries included:

Citizens Choice FCU was recognized for 50 years of service to its members. The credit union is located in Natchez, Mississippi, has $1 million in assets and 450 members.

MS Public Employees CU was recognized for 50 years of service. MS Public Employees is located in Jackson, Mississippi, has $23 million in assets, and serves 6,600 members.

Elevator CU was recognized for 50 years of service. Elevator is located in Olive Branch, Mississippi, has $14 million in assets, and serves 1,800 members.

Not present at the award ceremony but also celebrating 50 years of service is:

  • Stephens-Adamson Employees CU, located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which has assets of $100,000 and 41 members.
  • Tombigbee FCU, located in Amory, Mississippi, which has assets of $5.6 million and more than 800 members.

Credit Unions Praised for Advocacy Efforts
Credit unions were recognized for their efforts to actively promote and advocate on behalf of credit unions and for their efforts to support credit union advocacy initiatives.  There are five initiatives in the Mississippi Credit Union Advocacy Award Program:

Credit unions completing all five of the initiatives in Advocacy Awards program received a Magnolia Advocacy Award:

  • Central Sunbelt FCU
  • Ferguson FCU
  • Magnolia FCU
  • Meridian Mutual FCU
  • Mutual CU
  • Navigator CU
  • Singing River FCU

Credit unions recognized for achieving a Delta Advocacy Award, which signifies the credit union completed three of the five initiatives, were:

  • Gulf Coast Community FCU
  • Hope FCU
  • Jackson Area FCU
  • Keesler FCU
  • Members Exchange CU
  • MS Postal FCU
  • MS Telco FCU
  • Triangle FCU

During the Advocacy Appreciation luncheon, credit unions & their staff were recognized for their participation in the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) Payroll Deduction Program for credit union employees During 2015, 362 credit union employees participated in the PRD program at their credit union, with an average monthly donation of $5.62 per month.  The CULAC PRD program accounts for 70% of the total contributions from Mississippi.

Recognized for their support of the CULAC PRD program:

  • Central Sunbelt FCU
  • Ferguson FCU
  • Jackson Area FCU
  • Magnolia FCU
  • Members Exchange CU
  • Meridian Mutual FCU
  • Mississippi Credit Union Association
  • Mississippi Postal EFCU
  • Mississippi Telco FCU
  • Mutual CU
  • Navigator CU
  • Singing River FCU
  • Triangle FCU

Mississippi Credit Union Association Elections
At the Annual Business Meeting held Thursday, May 19, 2016, four MSCUA directors were re-elected to a three-year term:

  • John Gibbons, Triangle FCU, District I
  • Sheila Bridges, MBHS FCU, District III
  • Chris Hammond, Central Sunbelt FCU, District V
  • James B. Smith, Jr., District VI

In addition, Betty Barrett, Magnolia FCU was elected to fulfill an unexpired one-year term for District III. 

The 2016 MSCUA Board of Directors:

  • Chairman James B. Smith, Jr., Singing River FCU
  • Vice Chairman Billy Bridges, Mutual CU
  • Treasurer Ray Scott, USM FCU
  • Executive Committee Member John Gibbons, Triangle FCU
  • Betty Barrett, Magnolia FCU
  • Sheila Bridges, MBHS FCU
  • Elmer Dickens, Gulf Coast Community FCU
  • Chris Hammond, Central Sunbelt FCU
  • Brig Gen Richard Moss (Retired), Keesler FCU
  • Katie Nelson, Mississippi Postal Employees FCU
  • Bo Pittman, MUNA FCU
  • Kathy Scarbrough, Navigator CU

 Other recognitions

The Mississippi Credit Union Association recognized the following individuals:

  • Recognized for being nominated to the Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame were:
    • John Anderson, Jackson Area FCU
    • Betty Barrett, Magnolia FCU
  • Tom McWilliams, CUDE, CCUE, CMP, MSCUA Senior Vice President, was recognized for 30 years of service.
  • Amy Manley, MSCUA Corporate Relations Manager, was recognized for 15 years of service.



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