Jane Hammil is no novice when it comes to being the top executive of a credit union, but her newest posting is at the biggest credit union she’s led in her nearly 20-year credit union career.
In June, Hammil began her duties as president of Wichita Federal Credit Union, replacing Wayne Warfel, who retired from the $80million credit union after 19 years as its president.
Hammil, 45, came to Wichita Federal from Credit Union of America, where she was senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Kansas’ second-largest state-chartered credit union.
An Oklahoma native, Hammil got her start in the industry at FAA Credit Union in Oklahoma City following graduation from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in finance. She also led a smaller Oklahoma City credit union as president before moving to Wichita to join CUA in 2008.
Hammil is married to Jim and they have two sons, 12 and 14.
What did your parents do for a living?
My dad has managed credit unions for 40 years. He’s retiring this year. Mom was a commercial banker for 40 years. My sister-in-law is a banker and my brother-in-law is an auditor. We have two things we don’t discuss at the holidays: that’s politics and the differences between banks and credit unions.
You had five other majors in college including psychology and computer science before settling on finance, is that right?
I was definitely a statistic, changing around, figuring out what I wanted to do.
In what ways is this job different than the one you had at Credit Union of America?
For starters, it is a wider diversity as far as your everyday responsibilities and I enjoy that. And honestly I enjoy the variety of being able to work with all the different pieces. In this position I’m able to get a little more hands-on with the accounting, financial reporting, investments, that type of thing.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I call it management by objective, really allowing your folks to problem-solve and use their own creativity to come up with their solutions. I like to give them their objective and get out of way because they tend to have a little bit higher job satisfaction … and they tend to be a little more motivated.
But does that style allow them to come to you if they can’t find a solution?
Oh yeah, definitely. I want to be there for them as a resource and to share my experiences … but at the same time not be the micromanager that’s constantly over their shoulder. We’re a pretty close-knit group here … and we problem-solve together, most definitely. Being new to this organization I bring a whole other set of experiences to the table. And I think that’s bringing a little bit different flavor, some fresh perspective. If it’s working and it’s not inefficient, I just let them do their own thing. But now if it’s broken, I will make suggestions how to fix it.
Have you had to overcome any challenges coming into a credit union that has had the same leader for nearly two decades?
Maybe it’s because I had so many years in credit union management, but the transition does not seem like it has had any negative impact here. For me to come stepping in here, we’re already primed for the next stage of growth, which appealed to me about this opportunity. There’s nothing to fix. It’s the job everybody wants, right? Really it’s been such a successful organization and they have done all the right things to position themselves to the next asset level … that’s why this was such a good opportunity for me.
How would you want to be remembered in your tenure at Wichita Federal?
I want to be known as a leader who made a positive difference and helped others achieve more than they thought they were capable of.
What do you consider the defining moments in your career?
I would say choosing to stay in credit union management when I was offered positions that would have taken me outside of the credit union business.
When you are not running a credit union, what do you like to do to relax?
Anything outdoors. We ride four-wheelers. (I like) golfing, and I read.
Do you read prefer fiction or nonfiction?
Both. I just picked up “Undaunted Courage,” about Lewis and Clark. And I just read a book, “Eisenhower on Enlightened Leadership.”
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I did find out this year that I love paintball and my favorite (game) is capture the flag.