Credit Union Professional Spotlight - Chad Moller

Monday, July 2, 2018
Chad Moller grew up in the rural community of Cherokee, Iowa, located in the northwest part of the state. The Moller family was involved in farming, but did not live on the farm, rather they lived in town. Chad says his parents have always had an influence on him, which played a key role in installing a strong work ethic, even at an early age. “I have always tried to follow their examples of keeping my head up and working hard, no matter the task in front of me,” he stated.

In his school days, Chad was active in sports, participating in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduating from high school, he attended and graduated from South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD) with a Bachelor of Science in communications.

After college, Chad was driven to begin a career in sales. However, he found employers wanted “proven” experience, which he did not yet have. In order to gain that “line” on his resume, he began selling cars at Sioux Falls Ford, where he established sales experience in a competitive environment. Through this job, he also made a connection with a gentleman that worked for a mortgage wholesaler, who introduced him to the mortgage lending business.

Even though he did not have any lending experience, he took a risk and switched careers for a commissioned position in the mortgage industry. “The first year provided many challenges and learning opportunities, but I was very privileged to meet Dave Bednar from CU Mortgage Direct (CUSO of Sioux Empire FCU) and begin my permanent stay in the credit union industry,” he recalled. In 2005, Chad began his credit union career working as a mortgage loan officer for CU Mortgage Direct.

That beginning involvement with credit unions provided him with a connection to Dan Cumbee [CEO of Dakotaland FCU]. In 2011, Chad was hired as the Dakotaland Brookings Branch Manager. Recently, his responsibilities were expanded, as he now oversees staffing and operations at the new Watertown, SD branch as well. “I am very grateful that Dan and the entire organization of Dakotaland entrusted me to begin my management career. Dan Cumbee has been a role model for me in what it means to lead with tremendous humility, and he sets a great example for all of us in our organization to follow,” he stated.

Cumbee is not the only mentor and role model that Chad has found in the credit union network. “The number one thing I appreciate the most about the credit union industry is that it's a tight-knit group of people. I have had the privilege of meeting credit union people across the country, and they all share the common passion to serve members. I am very fortunate to have been mentored and influenced by several people. The friendships that have been created are lifelong, and for that I am forever grateful,” he remarked.

One memory that Chad shared to illustrate the support credit union professionals provide to each other goes back in 2013, when the South Dakota Bankers Association started the taxation attack on credit unions. At that time the chairman of the banker’s association was the president of a bank in Brookings, and he went to every city, county and nonprofit board meeting to push them to sign a resolution to tax credit unions. As the only credit union in Brookings County, it was more than a little intimidating, and very much a David vs. Goliath scenario. However, Chad received the strong support of several South Dakota credit union peers and Jeff Olson, who at the time, was CUAD’s VP of Government Affairs. In Chad’s own words: “One of highlights and turning points for me was on a Tuesday morning when the banker was scheduled to present to Brookings County Commission. I figured it would be Dan [Cumbee], Jeff [Olson] and me in a room full of local bankers. Much to my surprise, Jay Kruse, Travis Kasten, Fran Sommerfield, Joey Rotert, and several others took time from their busy schedules to attend the meeting with us and equalize the room. We successfully won the battle. That’s a pretty powerful statement in my opinion, and one of many ways credit unions stand out from other financial institutions.”

Seeing the support that so many credit union people provided him during that difficult time inspired Chad to become even more involved, especially in the political spectrum. He currently serves on the SD Governmental Affairs Committee, and he is the SD CULAC Trustee. But his volunteerism does not end there; in his community, Chad is an active member of Crooks Volunteer Fire Department and serves as treasurer. In addition, he coaches youth baseball, basketball and football, and also serves on the Crooks Housing and Development Commission. No matter where he goes, he strives to educate people about the credit union difference, something he says is more of a challenge (in his opinion) than the overwhelming regulations credit unions face.

On a personal note, Chad has been married to his wife, Michelle, for 15 years. They have twin boys, Konner and Karsten, who will soon be turning 11 years old. In an interesting side note, Chad’s only sibling, a younger sister, also has a set of twin boys! In their free time, the Moller family is busy attending the twins’ many activities, primarily centered around baseball and basketball. Chad, who just turned 40, is embracing a new saying: “40 is the new 20!” He thoroughly enjoys the outdoors, and loves to spend time hunting, fishing, and riding UTVs. He is also a “hobby” farmer - in that he loves to help his friends with planting, harvesting, and wrangling cattle. It allows him to enjoy his love of farming without having any of the liabilities.

Finally, Chad mentioned that he is a huge SDSU Jackrabbits fan, and requested a shout out to Steve Schmitz, his colleague at First Community CU in Jamestown, who is an avid NDSU Bison fan. Just this: The Dakota Marker rivalry trophy will stay in Brookings.

Categories: 2018


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