Several Recognition Awards will be presented to New York credit union leaders during the New York Credit Union Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting & Convention. Today’s featured award is the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who devoted their lives to the philosophy and success of the credit union movement, and who have made a significant impact on credit unions at the local, state or national levels.
This year, two deserving credit union leaders will be inducted into the Hall of Fame: Thomas Diana, former board chairman at Municipal Credit Union; and Paul St. John, former board chairman at SEFCU.
Thomas Diana was named to Municipal CU’s board of directors in 1984 after spending years promoting the credit union and its benefits to his fellow MTA workers. Diana served over a decade as chairman, but his service to the credit union and its members spans much longer.
Diana has served on nearly every board committee that the credit union has had since 1984, and played a key role on the Coordinating, Fiscal and Bylaws Committee.
As former chairman of the Pension Plan of Trustees for Municipal CU, Diana is proud of the fact that the credit union still offers all of its employees a pension as part of their benefits package.
Thanks in-part to Diana’s contributions to rebuilding Municipal CU, the credit union has experienced significant growth, breaking membership and asset records many times over the last three decades.
In addition to his service to Municipal CU and their members, Diana lives out the credit union motto of “people helping people” in other ways too. For more than 50 years, he has served on the board of directors at the Queens Center for Progress, an organization that supports children and adults living with Cerebral Palsy.
Paul St. John has been a fixture on the SEFCU Board of Directors for 39 years, and has been an instrumental part of the credit union’s success during that period of time.
St. John was a major part of SEFCU’s growth during the 1970’s, and he was a driving force behind moving SEFCU from a credit union of basic services (such as savings and loans) to a multi-purpose credit union with a variety of services, including commercial lending and credit cards.
Thanks to a governance model overseen by St. John, SEFCU quadrupled its assets from 1990 to 2000.
Constantly thinking in terms of the future, St. John proposed the idea of a mobile branch in 2011. Before the advent of mobile wallets, SEFCU was able to create a branch on wheels that operates out of a vehicle. This mobile branch – the first of its kind in the region – provides members with access at non-standard locations, and is christened with the license plate “PSJ1” in honor of Paul St. John.
St. John is known and respected by local, state and national political representatives for his honest views on the financial needs of working families. He has participated in numerous trips to Capitol Hill to speak on behalf of these families and the credit union movement.
Always active in the community, St. John is a former town supervisor for the Town of Charlton, and he was an active member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce until he aged out at 40. He also serves on the boards of his local EOC and the St. Mary’s of Galway Food Pantry.