$20,000 – A BIG Investment

The grand prize for the Next Top Credit Union Executive contest is the opportunity to participate in two CUES’ CEO Institutes - a prize worth roughly $20,000. CUES partners with many of the world’s best business schools. That is a BIG investment for one fortunate young professional. As a lifelong learner, the possibility of being awarded this opportunity is exciting to me!  

I want the judges to know I have a track record for taking my education seriously and I will be a good investment if given the opportunity. Going back to my college days, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Economics from Southern Oregon University. I joined the financial services industry right out of college as a Teller for Umpqua Bank. My career began in a challenging economy, but I remained focused and gained experience as a Branch Manager, Loan Officer, Underwriter and regional leader over the years. Today, I am focused on member experience as a mid-level manager at Unitus Community Credit Union.

Above: Pictured in Fortune Magazine as a Branch Manager at Umpqua Bank

Above: Pictured in Fortune Magazine as a Branch Manager at Umpqua Bank

I also had the opportunity to matriculate through Pacific Coast Banking School (PCBS), one of the most rigorous graduate level financial services schools in the country. I graduated from this program in 2016 with honors, representing the top 10% of our class. This was a big accomplishment for me as PCBS is comprised of many of the best bankers and credit union employees in the nation.  It was a great experience to learn about the financial industry at a higher level and see some of the challenges and opportunities of running a bank or credit union. I also learned how to stick out in a group of bankers… wear an off-white suit! ☺


I believe I bring a unique and valuable view to Unitus, our industry, and this competition.  As a millennial, I am in tune with the wants, needs and desires of the demographic our credit unions need to attract. This understanding, combined with my professional range of industry experience is a strength of mine. I rely on my experience and business acumen to provide value at Unitus, whether I am in meeting with executive management or in a focus group with fellow millennials. Should I be fortunate enough to win this contest, I believe my experience and unique point of view will add value to the CUES’ CEO Institutes, and I have no doubt the experience would impact my career in amazing ways as well. 

Blaine Bartholomew