America’s Credit Union Museum 2022 ‘HerStory’ Induction Features Industry Veteran Denise Wymore
By W.B. King
Known for her infectious laugh and unyielding support for the credit union movement, Denise Wymore is among 20 intrepid women featured in a new exhibit at the America’s Credit Union Museum (ACUM), “Credit Union Women Making History: Herstory.”
Located in Manchester, N.H., the town where the first American credit union began operating in 1908 to serve Franco-American mill workers, ACUM announced the 2022 inductees in August 2022.
“The museum made me pause about the pure beauty of the financial cooperative movement and knowing the impact that it has today in America,” Wymore told Finopotamus.
The interactive exhibit, including ancestral artifacts, was designed to highlight a range of credit union women and their achievements in the credit union industry, explained Stephanie Smith, executive director at ACUM. The goal is to honor the past, present and future of “incredible women” making history.
“Herstory was created as a lasting legacy of women whose contributions have propelled the movement forward for generations,” said Smith. “We’re excited to honor these women and celebrate their inspirational leadership and their commitment to positive change for credit unions.”
When Wymore humbly made the trip to the induction ceremony, the celebratory event also allowed her to cross off a bucket list item: New Hampshire—the last state in the nation she had yet to visit. As a first time visitor to the museum, Wymore was in awe.
“If you’re a credit union nerd like I am, it’s nirvana because you are walking in the house where it all began. When we see how credit unions started, the grass roots organization, the volunteerism and the passion for having your own financial cooperative. It’s impressive,” she continued. “The story of the railroad workers, the teachers, the churches—the people who couldn’t get services anywhere else, so they pooled their resources together. What a beautiful story.”
A Cheerleader for Passion and Commitment
Wymore jokes that her resume is “chaos,” but a deeper dive uncovers a celebrated career spanning 30-plus years in the industry. She began as a teller and member service representative at Pacific NW Federal Credit Union. Next she served as a loan officer at United Grocers, and then a vice president of marketing and public relations at Oregon Credit Union League, among many other posts. More recently she was the marketing manager at QCash Financial, and currently serves as Zest AI’s field marketing manager.
“It really, truly is not about my career path, it’s more about what I have been able to do bringing people together,” she said of the ACUM distinction, adding that she was honored to be inducted with a group of exceptional and talented women. “That’s what I do best and what I will continue to do.”
Self-identifying as a “cheerleader for passion and commitment,” Wymore is continually consumed with issues facing credit unions and working with liked-minded colleagues on solutions.
When she saw her picture on the wall at ACUM, she paused in reflection. Noting that approximately 61% of credit unions today have assets of $100 million or less, her goal is to ensure there is a growth engine in place so the movement continues—not just through mergers but by providing smaller credit unions with a fortified network that allows them to flourish.
“What’s keeping credit unions down is the cost of technology. And we can fix that using the CUSO model and ‘six cooperative principles’ to identify and solve problems,” said Wymore. “There are thousands of credit unions with these same issues—isn’t that worth preserving? It’s the power of bringing people together.”
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