CENTENNIAL, COLO. – On August 24th, Columbine Federal Credit Union announced the appointment of Arick Williams as CEO. Williams replaced John Faries, who served as President and CEO from 2011-2020. Williams joined Columbine in 2011 and has served as the Vice President of Lending since 2013. Since their arrivals, the Credit Union has grown from $43M in total assets to $63M today, including the growth of Columbine’s loan portfolio from $22M to $49M.
“We are so pleased to have Arick assume the role of CEO at Columbine. Arick set a goal early in his career to become a CEO; and it is that ability to have a vision, the tenacity to go after that vision and the unwavering dedication to achieve that vision that makes Arick the kind of leader we want and need for our credit union now and well into the future,” said Board Chairman Deb McBride. “I genuinely believe that our staff and members will all benefit from having Arick at the helm of our organization.”
Williams’ credit union work experience spans over two decades.In addition, he’s very proud that his relationship with credit unions began over 30 years ago. He often uses the term Credit Union Lifer to describe himself and believes it’s a constant reminder he has more work to do. “Credit Unions have been a part of my DNA before I really knew what they were and the incredible call to service they inspire,” Williams said.
When asked about the opportunity to be the CEO, Williams answered, “to go from a kid with a savings account to the CEO of a credit union is quite humbling. I’m honored with the opportunity to continue the great work our Columbine Family and volunteers have been doing for years.”
Williams’ educational journey includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Finance from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK. Next, he earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK. Williams will admit he thought he had completed all the formal schooling he would need for a lifetime with his MBA, but when given the opportunity to attend Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) in 2016 he jumped (similar to a frog) on the opportunity. “I knew it was a great career opportunity, but I never anticipated the totality of which it would shape me as an executive,” Williams shared.
In 2018, he graduated with his fellow PIs at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. “The schooling, the long hours, the time away from home, the projects were all worth it. The friends, the fun, the memories, and the network established made that experience one I will always cherish. The message of Head and Heart shared by Dr. James Likens is one I believe every CU professional should hear. It warms the soul and ignites a credit union passion,” Williams shared when asked about his experiences at WCMS.
Williams’ career path began at Fort Sill Federal Credit Union with part-time jobs including teller, records retention, and an internship. In 2006, he joined Oklahoma Employees Credit Union (now Oklahoma’s Credit Union) where he found his passion for Lending. “To this day, I remember the first loan I wrote during training. I remember the impact we made in someone’s life by saying yes, when others were saying no. As I reflect now, it’s moments like this one where I started connecting the dots between the founding principles of the Credit Union movement and how I can live that mission today,” Williams said.
Williams developed skills and experience within the Operations and Lending departments with OECU which culminated to several managerial positions, before a move to Colorado led him to Columbine in early 2011. From 2011-2013, he served as the Branch Manager overseeing tellers, loan officers and collections until his promotion to VP of Lending.
In 2015, Columbine FCU was awarded the Credit Union of the Year Award by the Mountain West Credit Union Association(MWCUA). In 2019, Williams was named one of MWCUA’s Outstanding Young Credit Union Professionals. When asked about the accolades, Williams talks more about the team award in 2015. “I was thrilled last year don’t get me wrong, my wife and I enjoyed that moment of celebration. 2015 was just different though. That was 4 years of hard work, growth across the board, product and service developments and re-designs all with the focus on improving the lives of our members. To be recognized at that moment, as a team from management to Board, was an absolute honor,” Williams answered.
Williams’ resumé also highlights his volunteerism connected to the Credit Union movement. He currently serves as the Chairman for Consumers United Association, an organization dedicated to improving the financial lives of consumers through education and advocacy. He also serves as a board member for Recovery Management Group, a CUSO providing post charge-off and first-party collection services to credit unions. Just recently he concluded his time of service with the Denver Area Chapter of Credit Unions to facilitate the addition of Tina Wickes as VP of Lending to the Columbine executive team.
About Columbine Federal Credit Union
Columbine Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative providing financial services to approximately 7,280 members with offices in Centennial and Parker, Colo. Membership is with select employer groups, such as AECOM, Tri-County Health Department, Arapahoe County, South Suburban Parks and Recreation, City of Littleton, Consumers United Association and South Metro Fire Rescue Authority. To find out more visit us at www.columbinefcu.org.
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