Updated: Oct 9, 2020
A statesman and visionary leader in the credit union and cooperative movement, Mike Mercer 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 almost 35 years, Mike dedicated himself to working with credit unions across the country to create meaningful financial solutions for millions of members.
On the local level, Mike has championed financial products and services that meet the needs of working-class members such as used vehicle loans for low-credit score borrowers, small value personal loans, and saving programs, mortgages and accounts with few fees and minimum balance requirements. Even before the three-state league merger, Mike brought shared service centers to the Southeast.
Mike is a respected voice for credit unions and cooperatives at the national level. With over 30 years of service to credit unions, Mike has chaired the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. Twice he’s chaired the board of the National Cooperative Bank (NCB).
An advocate for credit unions, Mike is credited with securing the support for the Credit Union Membership Access Act from then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The passage of this law ensured the survival of the credit union movement after the Supreme Court ruled against a broader interpretation of the Federal Credit Union Act.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Mike used his knowledge of credit unions and his belief in their ability to improve the lives of working people to help the citizens of Poland. 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 US credit unions. Today, more than 2.5 million credit union members in Poland are benefiting from this program. The Poland-Georgia partnership also became a model for other international league partnerships. For his leadership, in 2007 Mike was awarded the highest award that can be bestowed upon a non-Polish Citizen – the Knights Cross – in recognition of his contributions to the growth and development of the Polish Credit Union system.
Mike encourages cooperation among credit unions for both information sharing and efficiency. As a mentor and role model, he pioneered the Georgia Credit Union Affiliate’s Learning Journey and Idea Institute that allowed credit union leaders to share their expertise with one another as well as cooperatives and other leaders outside the credit union system. He has also worked with credit union leaders to create Credit Union House, Cooperative Services, CSCU Shared Service Centers, Credit Union Loan Store, CU Partnerships, League InfoSight and CU PartnerLink.
For his contributions to the credit union movement, Mike has received numerous awards including the 1997 AACUL Eagle Award, Georgia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, the 2015 Herb Wegner Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Cooperative Bank Stan Dreyer Spirit of Cooperation Award in 2016.