Okay, I’ll post about it. Did you hear that First Tech and Addison Avenue have proposed to each other? A merger that is. This will be the biggest merger in US credit union history, and will yield the 15th largest credit union in the US. We’re talking a huge wedding reception!

I, for one, did not even know they were dating. When I heard, my first reaction was, “What the What? What about the children?” And then the more I thought about it, it just makes sense. Both credit unions are healthy and happy – this isn’t a shotgun wedding. This is a great union.

So I propose a toast.

To the groom. I met Tom when I was 18 years old. He was my first boss at a tiny little government employees credit union in Portland, Oregon. He was young and funny and very smart and smoked Salem menthols at his desk (it was the ’80s people, get over it). He rewarded hard work and was on the bleeding edge of technology even back then. Fast forward to the late ’90s, he became my last boss at First Tech. He was the ballsy (there I said it) CEO that dared to open a branch in Bellevue, Washington to capture the Microsoft audience while being headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon. He smoked fancy cigars by then and had this cool fan installed above his desk so you couldn’t smell them…sort of.

I loved working for Tom. My favorite mentor moment. I made a HUGE mistake with our website (and keep in mind we served Microsoft, Intel, Amazon.com, Nike world headquarters to name a few). After the dust settled he came to my office. I fully expected to be fired. Instead he said, “Hey, you took a chance. People who never make mistakes are not doing anything worthwhile. Now stop beating yourself up.”

The bride is Benson Porter (as Addison Avenue will be taking the First Tech name). I was lucky enough to meet Benson at his coming out party at Addison Avenue. I was asked to speak about branding during this transition. My first impression was, he’s very handsome. But my second impression was, he’s very excited to be at Addison. Genuinely honored to be chosen and recognized what a gem of a credit union the board entrusted to him. Later I got to work with his team to help form the Net Promoter Score CUSO the Member Loyalty Group. He, like Tom, is a credit union pioneer.

So raise your glasses and help me congratulate the board of directors of First Tech and Addison Avenue for arranging, what I believe, to be a beautiful marriage.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

..and happy retirement and happy birthday Tom (March 17th…..Pisces!)

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