In Memoriam: Joseph Cugini

Joseph N. Cugini


Joseph N. Cugini, former Westerly Community Credit Union President and Chair of the Board, passed away on June 15 following a brief illness. Cugini, 89, also served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.

During his 41-year tenure at WCCU, Cugini, served as President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. He represented Westerly Community Credit Union and the Credit Union movement at all times. This was illustrated through the many Committee and Board positions he held. 

In Rhode Island:

  • Rhode Island Credit Union League (now Cooperative Credit Union Association) as:
    • Past Member of the Legal and Legislative Committee
    • Board Member
    • Board President
    • Chair of Board of Directors
  • Past Chair of RI Corporate Credit Union


  • Held many positions with Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), and was inducted in their Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Credit Union National Association (CUNA), held positions such as:
    • National Director
    • Board Secretary
    • Chairman of CUNA’s Government Affairs Committee
    • Chair of CUNA’s Board of Directors

Cugini was also a member of the Board of Directors of US Central Credit Union, and member of the Federal Reserve Consumer Advisory Council.

Locally and Nationally, Cugini was a force; but he also took it to a world-wide level. Very involved with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), Cugini served as President. In  2003, Cugini was received the WOCCU Distinguished Service Award in acknowledgement of his efforts to reshape the Board to allow for more International Representation; his visits to over 27 countries promoting the Cooperative concept to Government Officials; and his efforts resulting in USAID, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund becoming more involved with WOCCU.

Cugini also hosted a weekly radio show on WBLQ up until his death interviewing guests from throughout the state who became part of his family.

One of Cugini’s proudest accomplishments of his community involvement was founding the WCCU Holiday Basketball Tournament, created in 1984 to bring together local school communities in a competitive way to collaboratively raise funds for their sports boosters. As the sole sponsor since its inception, Westerly Community Credit Union underwrites all expenses of the Holiday Basketball Tournament. Donations in Cugini’s memory may be made to the Joseph N. Cugini WCCU Holiday Basketball Tournament Fund through WCCU Cares.

Association President/CEO Ron McLean stated, “Our credit union community has lost a leader who cared deeply for his credit union, his community, and the credit unions of the world and strengthened the movement through his actions.”

The Association extends its condolences to the Cugini family and to Westerly Community Credit Union employees and volunteers