CEO Success Stories

Taking A Shot At Winning

Allan Prindle

Growing up just outside Boston, and later at the University of Lowell and Boston University, Allan Prindle learned a great deal from the game of hockey. As Wayne Gretsky, one of the top players of all time said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.”

Allan learned this lesson early, on and off the ice, and he has kept winning games going at credit unions. Starting as a bank teller, then soon as a manager trainee, he grew steadily by playing within the rules and knowing when to pass and when to take the shot. “I was extremely fortunate to start my credit union career post-MBA at Digital Credit Union in the 80’s when new management was putting the pieces back together after the greatest fraud in the history of credit unions. “There had also been some very poor decisions in asset management. The CEO brought in by the Board to turn things around put together the best possible team and then let us do our jobs. Later, he invited me and some other members of the Digital team to help stabilize and strengthen Hudson Valley Credit Union, a former IBM credit union in New York. This provided me the opportunity to grow from Chief Lending Officer to Senior Vice President of Operations. I was accountable for retail branching and electronic channels at a growing credit union pushing $4 billion in assets today.”

His turnaround skills led Allan to his first CEO job, at Pan Am Horizons Credit Union in South Florida in 2005. “It all looked hauntingly familiar. Everyone was buying and flipping houses thinking things would always continue solidifying financially. Then the ice cracked. While we couldn’t change the economy, nor were we in the business to judge other people’s choices, we could control our underwriting. We did our best for our members while also prudently mitigating our risk, whether it was housing, commercial, indirect or any other type of asset/liability decision.”

After a merger and the retirement of the previous CEO led Allan to leadership of Power Financial Credit Union, he has balanced strong earnings, capital and growth as others have been elbowed, tripped and hip checked. “There is no doubt that my background in lending has helped guide my understanding. Yet I have come to believe it is a high-performing team and how we work that makes us winners. I don’t want ‘yes’ people. We have spirited and sometimes lengthy discussions to understand differing points of view when it comes to the risk-adjusted return of an initiative. We try to reach a consensus, and when we can’t, I am the referee. I know that 99% of employees come in to do a great job. I never stop respecting others and soliciting input from those that do the work.”

Where are things going? “In this time of commoditization, we need to find ways to monetize payment channels. We must be open to win-win mergers, collaboration and innovation. I am a strong proponent of CUSO’s and maximizing off-balance sheet income.”

How will he keep growing? “I work long and hard but I get to as many of my son’s ball games and my daughters’ swim meets as I can. I’ll keep running marathons and getting out on the boat with the family. At the credit union, we’ll focus obsessively on tight, crisp processes, and I’ll keep encouraging my colleagues to play as a team, stay sharp, and take that shot when it’s yours or make the assist when it’s not.”

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