Maurice R. Smith’s leadership style to welcome challenges, analyze options, and keep moving forward has effectively served his mission to support and promote credit unions to improve the lives of consumers through access to affordable financial education and services.
Growing up on a farm near Southport, North Carolina, Smith was taught by his father about the power of money and the importance of sound management of credit to economic empowerment. After attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Smith began his financial services career as a loan officer for State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) in North Carolina.
Smith joined Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) as Executive Vice President in 1992 and became President/CEO in 2002. Under Smith’s leadership, LGFCU has become the fourth largest credit union in North Carolina, with more than 400,000 members and assets exceeding $3.5 billion. Fueled by a desire to address members’ demands for new technologies and services, Smith led the unprecedented move to create Civic, a sister credit union with service delivery solely through digital channels. Always with an eye on economic justice, LGFCU has been certified by the NCUA as a Low-Income Designation (LID) Credit Union and the U.S. Treasury designation of Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), for support of low-wealth communities. During his tenure at LGFCU, he has also earned a Juris Doctorate from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Among Smith’s most forward-thinking contributions within the cooperative world is the Eighth Cooperative Principle of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), formally adopted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and currently under discussion by the International Cooperative Alliance.