The 2017 Executive Excellence Awards: Benson Porter
President & CEO, BECU
By Gianni Truzzi January 16, 2017
Unlike many financial leaders after the banking crisis, incoming CEO Benson Porter had to manage expansion. In 2012, BECU, formerly the Boeing Employees Credit Union, was nearing $10 billion in assets, a size that would trigger new regulatory requirements, along with compliance to reforms. Porter, once an EVP at Washington Mutual, had seen others stumble. To steer through growth, he believed, BECU needed to focus on the difference in our secret sauce our people and keep those front and center. That philosophy remains at the heart of Porters approach, to stay true to the core values of a member-owned credit union. Growth, he contends, is about the opportunity to help more people and communities, like BECUs member-driven expansions into Spokane and South Carolina, where Boeing has a growing presence. Those demands continue to evolve service through digital tools like its highly rated mobile app, and innovative programs that reward members with reduced interest rates on credit card and auto loans as they improve their credit scores. In the past two years, more than 150,000 new members have joined BECU, growing assets to $14.5 billion, making it the largest credit union in Washington and the fourth-largest financial cooperative in the country. BECU estimates that more than $169 million was returned to members in 2015 through lower rates, fees and service charges when compared to a typical bank. Through a variety of employee- and member-driven programs, BECU also donated $3.5 million to community organizations and nonprofits. Porter expects BECU to rise to more than one million members early this year, a testament to his approach of making a positive difference by doing things differently.