Mina Worthington was CEO of the Yakima Valley Credit Union when it merged with the Catholic Credit Union in 2011. She stayed on as CEO of the new organization, Yakima-based Solarity Credit Union, which has seen its assets grow by more than 50 percent in the eight intervening years.
Answers have been edited for clarity and space.
How do credit unions differ from traditional banks?
When you’re a credit union member, you’re part of a cooperative. A credit union is run by a board of directors who are not stockholders, so it’s a different model.
What does Solarity do particularly well?
Home loans. We’ve helped 340 families with home loans this year. We’re innovative, in that we found a way to close them without outside title agents. Our satisfaction rate on them is 92 out of 100. It’s not just me saying it; our members are saying, “You’re doing a great job.”
How big is Solarity now?
We have more than 67,000 members and between 170 and 175 employees. According to the National Credit Union Administration, Solarity’s assets are about $736.2 million.
What challenges do Solarity and other credit unions face in 2019?
Finding a way to keep putting customer needs first in terms of our digital and automated services while maintaining tight digital security, likely through the development and application of artificial intelligence. I see AI playing a huge part.