Client News

Gary Parker Retires from 1st University CU After 27 Years as President and CEO

WACO, Texas, January 2, 2024 – Gary Parker, who spent his entire half-century career in the credit union industry, has retired as president and CEO of 1st University Credit Union.

Parker retired at the end of 2023 after 27 years of leading 1st University. His successor will soon be named.

His prestigious credit union career began in 1975 when at 20 years old he became the youngest leader of a credit union in the state of Oklahoma, taking the helm at Bison Federal Credit Union in Shawnee. The small credit union was affiliated with Oklahoma Baptist University, and Parker had been a working volunteer for a while there when he was asked to step into the top position after his mentor’s death.

Parker spent nearly 14 years at Bison FCU, followed by several years at First Family Federal Credit Union in Henrietta, Oklahoma. In 1996 he was asked to fill in temporarily as head of Baylor University Employees Credit Union, which later became 1st University. That temporary role turned into a permanent, 27-year position.

“With Gary as president and CEO, 1st University has grown enormously and has become a leader in the community,” said Randy Wood, chairman of the credit union’s board of directors. “Gary always kept the ship moving forward and we will miss him tremendously.”

Parker has been recognized for several major achievements over the course of his career. He founded the popular Lending and Collections Conference, managed annually by Cornerstone Credit Union League, and served for many years on the league’s Lending and Collections Council Executive Committee. In 2021 the Lending and Collections Council established an annual scholarship for the conference in Parker’s name.

He served on the board of directors of the Texas Credit Union League. His knowledge and expertise in that area led to him being asked by NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, to be part of a panel addressing the future of corporate credit unions following the collapse of the corporate system in 2009.

In addition, Parker was named Alumnus of the Year in 2018 for the CUNA (Credit Union National Association) management school for his contributions to the industry since his graduation in 1980 from the management school. Parker was also chairman of a CUNA Council for small credit unions, which led to his participation in a U.S. Treasury panel focused on credit union legislation during the Trump administration. He also won the Cornerstone League’s Achiever’s Award in 2005 in recognition of his efforts assisting and mentoring other credit unions.

Parker’s retirement goals include travel, particularly to all the national parks in the U.S.

About 1st University

1st University Credit Union has been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1956, originally serving employees, students, and alumni of Baylor University and their families. Today, it is a full-service credit union serving the Baylor and Waco communities by providing financial services and products to meet modern demands. Find out more at culink.net.

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