Tanner gets top post at credit union

July 31, 1995|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,Sun Staff Writer

State Employees Credit Union of Maryland Inc. has hired a California credit union executive to run the Towson-based institution.

Daryl Tanner, president and chief executive of San Jose-based Pacific IBM Employees Federal Credit Union, said he will become president of the $766 million-asset institution in September.

The 52-year-old Mr. Tanner will replace Robert A. Smith, 62, who is retiring after serving as president since March 1993.

Running State Employees won't be a cakewalk. The institution is Maryland's largest credit union, and more than twice the size of Pacific IBM. It also has 160,000 "members" and more than 350 employees.

Taking the job is "kind of an ego thing," Mr. Tanner said in a telephone interview. "It is the challenge to take it to $1 billion."

Mr. Tanner wouldn't disclose his plans for the credit union, but he said he may expand State Employees' branch system by "sharing" branches with other credit unions. He used the technique years ago in Southern California.

"What it gives me is more locations at a lower cost than I can afford myself," he said.

He'll also look to offer more products, such as checking accounts -- the credit union only offers one, he said -- and he plans to grow the institution through technology rather than trim staff.

Mr. Tanner is well known in the industry for pushing technology to its limits. At Pacific IBM he experimented by offering customers the ability to bank at home using their computers, but the program fizzled and it was dropped. And several years ago, he spearheaded a computer conversion at Pacific designed to increase productivity, but the system has had mixed success.

"Daryl loves data processing," said Ronald Snellings, president and chief executive of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, a $2.2 billion-asset institution in Alexandria, Va. "He wants to be on the leading edge of technology."

Wendell A. Sebastian, president of GTE Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Fla., said Mr. Tanner has an "excellent reputation." "I would say he is one of the leaders out there," Mr. Sebastian said.

Mr. Tanner said he graduated from Brigham Young University in 1970 and three years later became president of the Atomic Workers Credit Union in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In 1983, he joined a credit union in Los Angeles and six years later became president of Pacific IBM. Mr. Tanner inherits a healthy credit union that is highly capitalized and has few loan problems. The credit union earned $10.4 million last year and $4.7 million for the first six months of this year. Loans totaled $466 million as of June, an 8 percent increase since December, and deposits grew by 3 percent to $695 million, according to financial records from State Employees and Sheshunoff Information Services Inc., an Austin, Texas-based publishing and ratings firm.

Industry executives familiar with the credit union said Mr. Tanner's biggest challenge could be winning over State Employees' board of directors. The group is said to be demanding to the point of being "nettlesome."

"It is a very, very political credit union," said a credit union executive who requested anonymity. "If they asked me I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. I would think he will have his hands full."

"It is my opinion that the board of directors is far too involved," added a credit union executive who is familiar with the operations. "They are very much driven to run the operation."

Mr. Smith said the criticism is unwarranted. "They are very, very serious about their credit union. These guys have a wealth of experience. They are very good to work with," the retiring president said.

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