Gary Hinrichs was named President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Community Credit Union (then known as Brentwood Mutual Credit Union) in 1974 – he was one of only two employees. Hinrichs started his credit union career while still in college, earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.
“When I started in 1974, we offered only savings and loans,” says Hinrichs. “I will never forget our first milestone of reaching $1 million in assets.”
Under Hinrichs’ exceptional leadership and direction, the credit union has grown from $750,000 in assets and one branch to over $160 million in assets and four branches. Hinrichs has led the organization through eight mergers, produced membership growth from 1,100 to more than 19,000 members, and grown the staff to more than 70 employees. As President/CEO, he incorporated the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a way to continuously improve the credit union’s ability to serve members.
“The chance to make a difference in our members’ lives every day over the last 40 years, either by me personally or by the efforts of the staff, has been very rewarding,” states Hinrichs. “I knew I wanted a career that would provide important, rewarding and challenging work, and my time with the credit union has provided that and so much more.”
Hinrichs is a credit union advocate who has been extremely active in the credit union industry. He was one of the first people in Missouri to become a Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE), served as a member of the Board of Directors for West Community Credit Union, Missouri Corporate Credit Union, Credit Union Lending Systems (CULS) and the Youth Involvement Board. He has also been Chairman of the Heartland Business Services Board and the Missouri Shared Branch Network, and President of the Portico User Board.
“Gary has successfully guided our credit union during an era of tremendous challenge and growth. He has the board’s confidence, respect, and admiration,” says Michael Murphy, Vice Chairman of the credit union’s Board of Directors. “His leadership will be missed.”
In addition to spending time with his family, after retirement Hinrichs plans to travel and volunteer or consult within the credit union industry.
“I will miss the innovative day-to-day interactions with my staff the most. Our employees are proud to work here and that speaks highly of the culture of our organization,” states Hinrichs.
A successor for Hinrichs will be named in fall of 2015.