Accountability. Credibility. Trust. | Christie L. Clark

Christie L. Clark

CEO, President & Treasurer

Very few people truly exemplify and embody the essence of the credit union movement, “People Helping People,” like Christie L. Clark. This is how Christie leads ACT 1st Federal Credit Union and what she instills in each credit union team member. “To have Accountability to the “Not for Profit, But for People” code of conduct we increase awareness of the exceptional benefits of being a member of a credit union. Introducing and offering low-cost products and services that truly fulfill member financial needs continually builds Credibility as it relates to the credit union’s commitment to everyone’s on-going financial wellness. In doing so, members have learned to Trust ACT 1st Federal Credit Union.”

Her vision embodies helping the communities and their people enrich their lives through financial guidance and support from real people who genuinely care about their well-being. To her, excellent member service is helping people from all lifestyles achieve their ideal level of financial wellness.

Through Christie’s leadership and strategic vision, ACT 1st Federal Credit Union is a premier financial institution within the markets they serve.

Becoming a Support System

“It is so important to support and empower our future female business leaders by setting an example and offering guidance through talk sessions, panel discussions and networking events.” 

Recently, Christie sent two female credit union team members to a seminar entitled “Like a Woman”; hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.  At the seminar, they were asked to share what woman in their life they thought was remarkable.  The members of the credit union team shared; “Our CEO Christie Clark –on top of being an amazing mom to her children, she runs our credit union operations phenomenally. She is an awesome leader and someone that they look up to.   We think she is doing an amazing job and she is definitely a remarkable woman.”

Success & leadership

“To say that I have officially found “success” seems too soon.  There is still so much to do.  Who knows what the future holds!”

One cannot describe Christie’s journey as “traditional.” She was married and became a mom at a very young age. Never losing sight of her personal and professional goals, she spent countless late nights obtaining her BS in Accounting and then her MBA; graduating with honors. “I did all of this while I was raising a family and working full-time for the credit union,” says Christie. “I started as the Administrative Assistant to the CEO at the credit union. Throughout the 19 years, I have worn every hat there is to wear in the credit union and created many of the roles that exist today—CFO, VP, Marketing, IT Specialist, Compliance Officer, HR Specialist, etc.

Credit Union History

An article was printed in the Cumberland Times-News requesting a meeting of all Allegany County Teachers interested in forming a credit union. On April 1, 1950, Catherine and Paul Footen, along with 50 other people, attended the meeting and Allegany County Teachers Federal Credit Union was chartered.   For the next 26 years, the day-to-day operations were handled from Mr. Footen’s Barton home.   Paul took little credit for his work throughout his service, often heaping praises on his fellow officers: Joseph Haugen, vice president; John “Chip” Grindle, secretary; Margaret Ringler, director; and Ruth Hanson, clerk.

In 1974, working from her Holland Street home in Cumberland, Rosalie Shobe assumed the credit union’s operations. She recorded all entries in ledgers, calculated dividends individually, and then posted them manually.

In 1976, the credit union operations moved to 1225B National Highway in LaVale, and Raymond C. Dorn filled the position as Manager/Treasurer.

In 1992, Manager Patricia Harris and her four staff moved to a larger facility at 14316 National Highway, the first property owned by the credit union.

For 67 years, the credit union operated as Allegany County Teachers Federal Credit Union.  Today, under Christie Clark’s leadership ACT 1st Federal Credit offers all types of products and services including Real Estate Loans and Reward Checking Accounts.  As a result, they have over 13,000 members, assets have grown to approximately $160 million, and they have four locations.  This includes their very first location in the State of West Virginia.  As ACT 1st Federal Credit Union, this is a new chapter and a new legacy of Accountability, Credibility and Trust.

Leading a Credit Union

While holding on to the commitment to the credit union movement and the personal touch, ACT 1st  Federal Credit Union recognizes the value of product flexibility and frictionless processes.  As an industry, credit unions are constantly striving to be “top of mind” because consumers are not adequately informed of the credit union difference or the benefits of membership.  ACT 1st Federal Credit Union aspires to put credit unions and their values on the map – creating the long awaited awareness.  Credit unions offer the same sophisticated products and services as the larger financial institutions. They advocate. They are present in and help within the communities they serve. They operate with kindness, respect, and integrity and without judgement or ridicule.

“Since becoming CEO on March 1, 2017, we changed our name from Allegany County Teachers Federal Credit Union to ACT 1st Federal Credit Union. We updated our logo and tag line and obtained a trademark for both. We changed our charter from SEG based to Community based which opened membership up to (7) counties in (3) states.” 

ACT 1st Federal Credit Union is optimistic and focused on its brand differentiation in the future. They are committed to data-driven analytics and its contribution to continual awareness of credit unions and a digital footprint as we focus on profitable growth. “My focus is the constant evolution of leadership,” elucidates Christie. “Please remember that, as women, we must lift each other up, not tear each other down. For us, it is not a competition amongst our gender; it is a fight against society. A fight to be equally valued and appreciated for what we bring to the table as leaders within any industry. We are not the same and it is exceptional!”

" Embrace that, as a woman, you lead differently. Be proud, stay confident and stand strong. "

Christie L. Clark

CEO, President & Treasurer

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