Business Q & A

Five questions with Marla Marsh

Last month, Marla Marsh marked her 15th anniversary as president and chief executive of the group that represents Kansas credit unions.

For 31 years she has been an advocate of the industry for the Kansas Credit Union Association and other state credit union trade associations.

But if you ask Marsh, 59, what one of her proudest accomplishments has been in her three-decade-long credit union career, she’s going to tell you financial literacy.

“The partnership that we have with the state treasurer’s office and bringing that (financial literacy education) into the schools, that was probably an important one for me,” she said. “Being a former teacher, I really liked getting that established and continuing that.”

Marsh started her working life teaching 11th- and 12th-graders about economics, accounting, business, English and law. The Marietta, Ohio, native earned a business and education degree from Ohio State University.

Q. 1 What is the biggest reason you have stayed at the association for 15 years?

A. “I think it’s because it was a good fit to begin with. Our values and principles match pretty well.

A. “I have a great team here at the office that makes my job a pleasure. I’ve enjoyed working with them. I believe in credit unions and the value proposition they bring to the financial services sector.”

Q. 2 What would you consider one of the group’s biggest accomplishments in your tenure?

A. “One is the financial strength of our organization. I’ve had the pleasure and pain of buying and selling a couple of buildings … we’ve anticipated and adapted to changes that are necessary for a trade association and the credit unions that we serve.”

Q. 3 With the whole debit card fee issue, do you get the sense that Kansas credit unions have benefitted?

A. “We’ve grown in the Sept. 29 through Nov. 1 time frame. We (Kansas credit unions) had an increase of about 4,000 members statewide who brought in about $28 million in deposits. Really, I think consumers are looking for a trusted partner in their financial services.”

Q. 4 Are there any pressing legislative issues for Kansas credit unions in 2011-2012?

A. “Our pressing issue right now is to help legislators both on the state and federal levels understand the impact of increased regulation. Increased regulation is rampant throughout a lot of industries but especially in financial services.”

Q. 5 To what do you attribute Kansas credit unions’ resiliency during this most recent crisis in the financial services industry?

“A lot of it is because we have stuck with what is tried and true. And we have pretty stable leadership, which has worked very well.”