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Argent Credit Union's Rose Baggerly Honored with Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award by Virginia's Credit Unions

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Lewis Wood
Vice President, Public Relations and Communications
800.768.3344, ext. 629
lwood@vacul.org

Rose E. Baggerly, President/CEO of Richmond-area Argent Credit Union, has been awarded the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for her contributions to her credit union and the commonwealth’s credit union system at the Virginia Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting in Norfolk, on April 26. Presenting the award is Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow.
Rose E. Baggerly, President/CEO of Richmond-area Argent Credit Union, has been awarded the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for her contributions to her credit union and the commonwealth’s credit union system at the Virginia Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting in Norfolk, on April 26. Presenting the award is Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow.
Rose E. Baggerly, President/CEO of Richmond-area Argent Credit Union, has been awarded the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for her contributions to her credit union and the commonwealth’s credit union system at the Virginia Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting in Norfolk, on April 26. Presenting the award is Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow.
Rose E. Baggerly, President/CEO of Richmond-area Argent Credit Union, has been awarded the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for her contributions to her credit union and the commonwealth’s credit union system at the Virginia Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting in Norfolk, on April 26. Presenting the award is Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow.

Rose E. Baggerly, President/CEO of Richmond-area Argent Credit Union, has been awarded the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for her contributions to her credit union and the commonwealth’s credit union system at the Virginia Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting in Norfolk, on April 26.

“Rose’s contributions of time, talent and leadership spans decades, and few have been as committed a champion of the movement,” says Rick Pillow, president of the Virginia Credit Union League. “Very few people have been as involved as Rose in so many different organizations that have helped shape Virginia’s credit union system and helped it thrive in an increasingly competitive and technology-driven marketplace.”

The James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those individuals who have unselfishly devoted their time and energy to ensuring a brighter, better future for credit unions. It is named in honor of the late James P. “Jimmy” Kirsch, a longtime credit union volunteer whose passion for the movement led him to leadership roles at the state, national and international levels.

The award is given by the Virginia Credit Union League, the state trade association that has promoted, protected and supported the commonwealth’s credit unions for 80 years. Learn more at www.vacul.org.

Baggerly got her start in the credit union system as a teller at DuPont Fibers Federal Credit Union (now Argent Credit Union) in 1979.

“I got the job by accident after my brother-in-law mentioned that the credit union was hiring,” says Baggerly. “I had no clue what a credit union was, but I knew I had had enough of working retail.”

Always willing to learn something new and accept new challenges, Baggerly found the credit union a perfect fit. She had the opportunity to launch new services for the credit union, including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and ATMs. As computer systems and software began to play a key role in financial services, she learned all she could about the packages and hardware and soon found herself running the credit union’s in-house computer system.

“It was quite the evolution we were seeing in the 1980s and ‘90s,” says Baggerly. “When I started at the credit union, we still calculated certificate interest by hand; we produced the financial statements on a typewriter. It really was a different world. But I’ve always been fascinated by how things work, and I saw opportunity in that changing landscape, an opportunity to learn new things and help the credit union grow.”

Her mentor and predecessor at the credit union, Robert “Bob” Thome, made the most of her eagerness, teaching her the lending side of the credit union’s operations.

“Bob wanted to see his people succeed,” says Baggerly. “He was a wonderful teacher and mentor. It was his encouragement that led me back to college to pursue a degree in finance. For me, it was about never being afraid to learn something new.”

With her degree in hand, Baggerly assumed increasingly important roles at the credit union, moving from Comptroller to vice president of finance, and eventually serving as executive vice president. When Thome retired in 1997, Baggerly stepped into the role of CEO.

“The level of competition today has certainly made financial services more interesting,” says Baggerly. “It’s not only credit unions and banks these days, everyone wants to be in financial services, from [financial technology companies] to Walmart to Amazon. But our members tell us all the time that they appreciate all that we do for them and we never lose sight of the fact that we only exist because our members choose to do business with us.”

Although Baggerly cites her proudest career accomplishment as having helped Argent Credit Union grow to serve more than 23,000 members and reach $241 million in assets, she has also been a leader in the Virginia credit union movement for decades. That includes serving in various volunteer capacities for organizations dedicated to helping credit unions grow and compete in today’s marketplace.

Most recently, she served as chairman of the board of directors for the Virginia Credit Union League, the statewide trade association that represents the interests of the commonwealth’s 130 member-owned credit unions. She has served on the board since 2011, and previously held the roles of vice-chairman and treasurer.

For years, she also served as a volunteer official on the supervisory committee for VACORP, Virginia-based credit unions’ corporate credit union -- essentially a credit union for credit unions -- which provided liquidity services and investment products.

Baggerly is also proud to have been among the earliest participants in Virginia’s shared branching network (now called the Credit Union Service Company of Virginia), an organization formed in the early 1990s to help credit unions compete by creating branch locations in which members from any participating credit union nationwide could conduct transactions.

“My fascination with how things work led to my interest in shared branching,” says Baggerly. “I attended every meeting of the service center board because I was fascinated by the concept and by credit unions’ willingness to work together because they understood it meant greater convenience and accessibility for members. I think, too, about how my volunteer service allowed me to meet so many wonderful people. That part of it was truly amazing.”

That interest in the shared branching concept led to her appointment to the board when a seat became available. Baggerly is now marking 20-plus years of service on the board of directors for CUSCVA.

“That’s one of the many things I find so refreshing about credit unions. Our willingness to work together in delivering services and technology means that our members benefit,” says Baggerly. “We’re always willing to help each other. Yes, it’s more competitive these days, but we haven’t lost sight of our cooperative roots.

“Nor have we lost sight of our mission. I think being part of a credit union provides us a unique way to help people,” Baggerly notes. “There is something very rewarding about helping members achieve financial well-being and pursue their financial goals. They come to us looking to build a nest egg, send their kids to college or purchase their first home. That speaks to many of us; that opportunity to help someone, in good times and bad.”

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