Although Darrick Weeks became the new Chief Executive Officer of Marine Credit Union (MCU) a little over a year ago, January 10, 2022, to be exact, Darrick is not new to credit unions having over 30 years of experience in financial services.
Darrick attended high school at Laguna Hills High School in California. He attended college at California State University, Fullerton where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance. Darrick later attended the University of Denver where he earned his master’s degree in information technology. He tells his IT teams, “I know enough to be dangerous.”
Early on in his life, Darrick shared that he always had an “inkling” towards technology. “I was a tech geek at heart.” But during college, he said he found himself working in a bank starting as a teller. He joked that he couldn’t balance so they put him into management (and added that wasn’t really true). But he shared he felt that time starting as a teller was good for him. “I knew what happens in a branch and that can be a benefit, as we make decisions for the entire organization” he shared.
Darrick gained managerial experience in lending and mortgage banking and in 1995 he moved over to credit unions where he has been since. “It was kind of refreshing to me,” he shared. “I ended up falling in love with it. I felt the whole people helping people mantra of credit unions. Credit Unions were started to give folks access to financial services they might not have otherwise been able to access,” he said and added that is what credit unions still do today. “We take in deposits , and we lend them that to those who are in need.”
Different than in banks, he said he also favored being able to “take the long view” on finances in credit unions instead of short-term thinking to just make quarterly earnings. “With credit unions,” Darrick added, “we can look at things with a longer-term perspective.” He explained that doing so allows leadership to run the organization better from the three stake-holder model perspective.
“If we take better care of our employees than anyone else can or will, the employees will take better care of the member than anybody else can or will and they will take care of the credit union and bring us more of their business,” Darrick explained. “I think that’s something credit unions can do really well because they aren’t always looking ahead to that next quarterly earnings call.”
Why financial services in the first place? “The mother of a friend of mine worked at a bank and she asked me to come to work for her, so that was easy. But beyond that, when I was young, at 13 years old, my mom and dad got a divorce. As part of that they filed for bankruptcy. They had spent above their means,” Darrick shared. “And I remember talking to my mom and dad about the stigma surrounding that. I saw what that did to them. I saw the impact it had on them.” He shared in addition that he was always good at math, so it felt natural for him to learn about finances. And as he got older, Darrick realized that he could help people with their finances, so they didn’t have to go through what he saw his parents go through.
Looking back on his parents’ experiences, Darrick shared that he tells employees, “Results don’t impress me … what does is the impact that we have on people.”
“And where that comes from for me,” he continued, “my dad got remarried when I was 17. He married a wonderful woman who became a second mom to me. Unfortunately, in 2013 she was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2014. I became very close to her. She was a huge part of who I became in my career. She was a very successful businesswoman, a great person and a great mom.” Darrick said that he had opportunity during the last year of his stepmom Kathy’s life to spend more time with her.
And during one moment near the end of Kathy’s life, Darrick shared that they were talking about careers. “What she said changed who I am today as a leader, a father and a husband. She said, ‘You know you have been very successful throughout your career. You have done a lot of great things. But when you die, no one is going to remember you because of how much your credit union’s assets grew or how much loans grew. But what they will remember is the impact you had because you were a positive influence in their life. As a leader you can choose to make that a positive or negative influence.’ That was really impactful to me,” Darrick continued. “It changed me as a person. It changed me as a leader.” This, he said, was one of the big reasons he tends to focus on impact rather than results.
His mom too, Darrick shared, was another positive example in his life raising two children. He said he saw the amount of hard work she had to go through to get on top of the finances after his parent’s divorce.
Many of the members Darrick has served over his career share similar stories to his parents’. He said that before being recruited for his position, he didn’t have a lot of background on MCU, but had some experience working with people who had credit challenges. Initially he was unsure if the timing was right for him and his family. But after learning more about MCU and its mission, he said he was very excited and decided it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“Most credit union boards tend to be pretty conservative, and I really liked that our board was willing to take the risk and a chance on folks,” Darrick shared. “It got me really excited about the mission and about what we were trying to do.”
Darrick felt it was a good fit for him at MCU and said he felt humbled and blessed to get the job.
He said his first 90 days for him was getting to know the organization better and asking a lot of questions. The next 90 days was putting together a strategy with the board and executive team, “to ensure we are all in alignment. The next step is implementing and amplifying our impact on our employees, members and communities we serve.”
“It’s a great business,” he said of MCU. “We can make a great impact for folks, and we do it every day.”
“I love what I do,” Darrick added. “I told my wife I’m going to keep doing it until I don’t have fun anymore. But I’m having lots of fun right now,” he added with a smile.
Darrick spends time in both La Crosse and in Dayton, Ohio with his wife Cay. Darrick and Cay have been married 23 years and have three children. Riley, their oldest, is studying forensic psychology and theater at Tiffin University in northern Ohio. Addison is just finishing her freshman year at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And their son Jordan, at the time of this interview, was a sophomore in high school. “A lot of my stories,” he said with another big smile, “tend to be about my kids and our family time together.”
Darrick is very much a family person. They enjoy traveling together, even when things don’t go perfectly. He shared stories of trips with totaled cars, hotel smoke detectors going off all night long, driving a rental car through a snowstorm with no tread on the tires and no wipers and even lost luggage on the family’s most recent bucket-list trip to Alaska. Darrick said, through it all, he was “super impressed” with his kids. “The airline lost all their luggage, but they didn’t let that ruin their trip. They were true examples of … things go wrong in life, and you can choose how you react. They were huge examples to me on how to handle it when things go wrong.”
As the interview wrapped up, Darrick shared what is next for him in his new role at MCU. “We are taking the company through a transformation,” he said. “I’m very excited about it. We have been very focused on the lending side of business for a long time, and we do that very well, which is great. And we have a phenomenal opportunity to look at the other side of the balance sheet and really look at the deposit side of it too so we can keep doing more loans – so we can fuel our lending machine. We’ve been a very transactionally focused organization. Get the next loan. Get the next loan. And what we want to transform it to is an organization that is along with the member for their whole journey … not just the next loan but the deposit account and the grandkids accounts. It’s really moving the organization in another direction to further our mission. It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to be fun. And it’s going to be impactful.”