2020 Awards of Excellence-John King



John King's Nomination Letter reads:

"John King, Sr. is an exemplary individual and throughout his years with Eagle One FCU, he has become a crucial part of the credit union movement. Firstly, John has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to ensuring that Eagle One is a remarkable place for members, his staff, and their families.  Under John’s leadership, Eagle One FCU has grown from $8 million in assets to $80 million in assets. The credit union has expanded from two branch offices to six branch offices. He also has always been a forward thinker with the credit union in mind, putting programs and technology in place as the credit union was growing.  Under his charge, the credit union was able to offer services to the members, such as PTM machines, a mobile app, and various loan products, which differ from other credit unions of the same size. Eagle One has been told numerous times by both NCUA and auditors that the credit union operates as if they are a $1 billion establishment.

John also has gone above and beyond to assist others in need, whether that be a member, staff member, or other credit unions. He truly has embodied the credit union’s mantra of People Helping People. Over the years, he has dropped everything several times to assist other credit unions in need.  John has shared staff members with credit unions in the Philadelphia area, when they were in dire need of assistance with managing their business. Overall, John wants the credit union movement to succeed and flourish, and has always supported other credit unions to make that goal a reality. For example, John was able to formulate a plan to assist smaller credit unions in getting back on their feet by providing free training and policy assistance.  John has also offered positions to several individuals who were in need. These staff members are still with the credit union to this day. In addition, under John’s leadership and persistence, Eagle One was awarded the CDFI low-income designation. As such, Eagle One FCU assists in generating economic growth in the communities in which the credit union serves. Credit Unions are essential in these communities, and John made it his mission to ensure that Eagle One’s services fit the needs of the people. Eagle One aided in helping the community members manage their bills and learn about finances. For example, John had assisted a learning program with the Claymont Community Center called A New Start, were staff members taught individuals who had been incarcerated about how Eagle One could assist with their finances by offering products such as prepaid debit cards, for example.

Over the years, John’s dedication to the credit union movement and his persistence in keeping up with the times, has led to several company mergers.  John has facilitated five large mergers in which Eagle One was able to step in and assist the credit union’s members as well as the staff. When these credit unions were looking for merger partners, John King’s name continued to come up.  His reputation as a forward-thinking leader and credit union advocate allowed Eagle One to continue to grow over the years while adding these new credit unions into the mix.  During the merger process, he worked diligently to ensure that the staff at the various other credit unions were taken care by offering jobs and creating positions for those in need.

As credit unions continue to move into the future, succession planning is crucial. As a leader, John has helped put into place, in the years leading up to his retirement, several young professionals who will be the future of Eagle One FCU. John has put energy into training the young professionals of Eagle One by sending them to various conferences across the country as well as CCUA offered training opportunities. John’s goal was always to ensure that Eagle One would continue to flourish in the future by placing these young professionals in credit union positions that would need to be filled upon staff retirements. He is always able to think ahead for what is best for Eagle One FCU. Danielle Gallagher (29 years old) for example, transitioned into the CEO position in 2020, after John’s retirement at the end of 2019. In 2018, she was CCUA’s recipient of the Young Professional Award of Excellence.  John has taken time to groom her and the other young professionals for years by putting his time and energy into personally training these individuals. As such, he has several young professionals in their 20’s and early 40’s in key positions at the credit union such as CEO, business development and accounting, to name a few, that will continue to grow as the credit union flourishes in future.

Over the years, John has become a great figure in the Claymont, DE community (the location of one of the credit union branches).  John has been able to foster and maintain relationships with several key politicians such as, Councilman John Cartier, Senator Chris Coons, and Senator Tom Carper. These politicians are aware of Eagle One’s presence in their communities and champion the products and services Eagle One offers.  Because of John’s diligence, he was able to foster relationships with these politicians that assist in championing Eagle One’s name in the community. In addition, John also understands the importance of credit unions being involved in educating decision makers on credit union needs and issues. Over the years, he has had several young professionals attend Hike the Hill events in Washington, DC, to help champion the credit union movement and explain the unique needs of credit union in comparison to the rest of the banking industry.  He strongly believes in credit union advocacy and presenting politicians with the true concerns of the credit union movement.  In addition, John and his staff members have attended the Governmental Affairs Conference many times.

Over John’s years with Eagle One FCU, he has changed the face of the credit union. He has worked diligently, in the trenches, to ensure that not only Eagle One, but credit unions in general survive and thrive in the future. John has facilitated several mergers, established new and state of the art credit union services, and introduced products that kept up with the demand of the membership. Even with all the achievements, John has still managed to be the backbone of Eagle One FCU. He is in the office every day, with his door opened, ready to assist the staff in any way that he can.  John King, Sr. truly exemplifies what it is to be a credit union leader."