Michael Mercer is a statesman, visionary leader and distinguished supporter of the credit union and cooperative movements. He spent his career “connecting the dots” between credit unions, cooperatives, cultures and institutions all with the goal of improving the financial lives of working people. As the president and CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates for over 35 years, he championed financial products and services that meet the needs of working-class members. These include vehicle loans for low-credit score borrowers, small value personal loans, and saving programs, mortgages and checking accounts with low fees and small minimum balance requirements.
During his 40-year career, Mike chaired the boards of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), American Association of Credit Union Leagues and National Cooperative Bank (NCB). An advocate for credit unions, Mike is credited with securing the support of then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for the Credit Union Membership Access Act. The bill’s passage ensured the survival of the credit union movement after the Supreme Court ruled against a broader interpretation of the Federal Credit Union Act.
Mike was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Poland-Georgia Credit Union Partnership Program over 25 years ago. Thanks to this program, Polish credit unions were able to draw from the experience of U.S. credit unions. The Poland-Georgia partnership became a model for other international league partnerships. For his leadership, Mike was awarded the “Order of the Knights Cross” in recognition of his contributions to the growth and development of the Polish Credit Union system. This is the highest Polish governmental award available to non-Polish citizens.