TCUL’s 2012 Inductee to the
Texas Credit Union Hall of Fame
Upon graduating from the University of Texas – El Paso (UTEP) in 1971, it didn’t take long for Harriet May to discover her true passion – credit unions.
May’s 38-year credit union career began in the mid-‘70s, when she accepted the position of teller at GECU (El Paso). Of course it didn’t take long for May to rise through the ranks. On her climb up to CEO, May held various management and executive management positions. She became CEO in 1996.
Under her leadership, GECU more than tripled in size. With well over $1.8 billion in assets, and more than 720 employees serving 300,000-plus member/owners, GECU is the largest independently owned financial institution in El Paso.
According to the Institute for Policy and Economic De- velopment at UTEP, GECU injects approximately $125 million into the community each year.
A humbled May is quick to share credit with others for GECU’s success.
“We have a talented group of professionals at GECU. From the frontline to the executive management team, every- one works together to ensure the needs of our members are being met,” says May.
But success doesn’t come without sacrifice, and May says everyone has had to learn how to compromise, commu- nicate and cooperate in order to fulfill the vision and mission of the organization.
Along with making a profound impact on GECU, May has also made a lasting impact on the movement and in the community.
This current chair of the CUNA board of directors is also past chair of the TCUL board of directors and past president of the El Paso Chapter of Credit Unions. She has served on the board of trustees for the Texas Credit Union Foundation, Town North Bank and PULSE EFT Association. In 2006, May accepted a seat on the Federal Reserve Board’s Thrift Insti- tutions Advisory Council, which was established to provide information and views on the special needs and problems of thrift institutions. She was also the first chair of TCUL’s International Relationship Committee and worked tirelessly with our partner organization in Mexico (the Caja Popular Mexicana) to improve financial access to Hispanics on both sides of the border.
May is also one of the founding members and past chair of the El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO, an entity owned by eight local credit unions whose sole purpose is to prepare El Paso residents for home ownership.
In 2007, May – an advocate for financial education – was invited to join other delegates at a private meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss financial literacy issues in America.
In the community, May has been a tireless supporter of UTEP and local organizations including the United Way, the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and others.
The significant contributions she’s made in her commu- nity earned her the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame award in 2002. In 2004, she received TCUL’s Professional of the Year award. In 2005, she was named Minority Business Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration. And in 2008, she received the credit union movement’s prestigious Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement.
She’s also received a Gold Nugget award from UTEP and a Distinguished Service award from the World Council of Credit Unions.
For her professional achievement, contributions to the movement and commitment to community involvement, TCUL has named Harriet May the 2012 inductee to the Texas Credit Union Hall of Fame.
“Harriet’s leadership, passion and undying commitment to GECU, the entire movement and her community have made her a highly-regarded, recognizable and respected figure in the movement and community,” says TCUL president and CEO Dick Ensweiler.