Columbia CU settles on new CEO Kenny has 22 years with company

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After two tough years of losses, Clark County’s largest credit union has a new president and CEO at the helm.

Columbia Credit Union has promoted interim CEO Steve Kenny to the role after 22 years with the company.

Kenny, 48, replaces Parker Cann, who left the credit union in April after serving four years as CEO. Cann joined Boeing Employees’ Credit Union, Washington’s largest credit union, in May as a senior vice president and corporate counsel.

After a nationwide search, Columbia’s board of directors settled on Kenny, who had been the credit union’s chief operating officer for two years before serving in the interim position since May.

“Steve has provided Columbia members with excellent leadership and service for many years,” Chuck McDonald, Columbia Credit Union Board chairman, said in a statement. “(He’s) well established and well suited to lead the credit union into the next decade.”

Kenny, a Vancouver native, started his career in banking in 1978 at age 18 as a courier on the swing shift for First Independent Bank. He worked his way to operations for the bank before joining Columbia Credit Union in 1987, just after the company opened its fourth branch with $60 million in assets.

Kenny is now tasked with guiding the credit union, with its 12 branches and $759 million in assets, back toward profitability.

The bank was hit hard by the mortgage crisis and subsequent real estate crash, losing just more than $11 million in 2008 after repossessing a large residential development project.

The credit union took ownership last September of developer Rick Bowler’s $21.79 million Two Creeks townhouse development, which went for $11.79 million at an auction.

The credit union has since struggled to regain its profitable status.

But the 64,121-member credit union is making steady progress into the black, posting a positive net income for the past five months, Kenny said.

Columbia Credit Union ended the third quarter with a year-to-date loss of $1.2 million, down from $2.1 million as of June 30. And after originally estimating a $5 million loss this year, the credit union now expects to break even for the year.

“We’re working very hard to manage our debt,” Kenny said. “We definitely have enough set aside for future losses and we don’t expect any major losses coming down the pipe.”