State system leaders Idol, Santos, Vega honored with 2020-21 Pierre Jay Awards

(Feb. 26, 2021) Honorees of the 2020-2021 Pierre Jay Awards – the highest honors bestowed by NASCUS for persons or entities demonstrating service, commitment and leadership to the state system – are Patty Idol, Kim Santos and Sarah Vega, the association announced this week.

We celebrate their accomplishments to recognize their contributions and inspire others to achieve collaborative greatness,” said NASCUS President and CEO, Lucy Ito. “The selection committee, NASCUS leadership and I are proud to honor each one of them as a Pierre Jay Award recipient.”

Idol is the former president and CEO of Mountain Credit Union in Waynesville, N.C., where she began her career as a branch manager. Over 35 years, she rose through the ranks at the credit union and in the credit union system, becoming chair of the NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council, chair of the Carolinas Credit Union League (CCUL) Board and president of the Western Chapter of CCUL. She also served on the NASCUS Education Committee and as a trustee of the National Institute of State Credit Union Examination (NISCUE) which is NASCUS’ education foundation benefiting state credit union examiners and regulators. Idol, together with award honoree Kim Santos, was instrumental in guiding NISCUE to make funds available for training beyond NASCUS’ offerings.

Santos is director ofthe Office of Credit Unions (OCU) at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions in Madison, Wis., where in 1992 she began her career as a credit union examiner. Since 2013, she has supervised the 118 state-chartered credit unions in her state as director of the OCU. She has served the state system at large through NASCUS as an association leader, including as a member of the NASCUS Regulator Board, the association’s Legislative and Regulatory Committee, as the Chairman of the NASCUS Audit Committee, a member of the Joint NCUA-SSA Supervisory Working Group, and as a trustee of NISCUE

Vega is the former chief of staff to former NCUA Board Chairman Mark McWatters, where she also served as a senior policy advisor. She also previously served as chief of staff to former NCUA Board Chairman Michael Fryzel – and has the distinction of being the only person to have served as top staffer to two NCUA Board chairmen. She is the former director of the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions, a role in which she also served as chairman of the NASCUS Regulator Board. Vega was one of the first state agency heads to form an industry advisory body in establishing the Governor’s Advisory Board, a group of credit union advisors that provides feedback to the Illinois regulatory agency and listens to the needs and concerns of credit unions in the state. She was instrumental in modernizing the Credit Union Act in Illinois to reflect the changing landscape of financial services. During her chairmanship at NASCUS, Vega led the state system through its work with NCUA to develop both the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) and the Member Business Lending (MBL) rules as required by the Congress’ passage of H.R. 1151.

The three will be honored in a virtual recognition ceremony set for April 22. They were chosen by a panel of state system representatives (from both state supervisory agencies and credit unions).

First presented in 1997, the Pierre Jay Awards commemorate the first Commissioner of Banks in Massachusetts — Pierre Jay — who was also the first-ever credit union regulator in the United States. Working with philanthropist and credit union pioneer Edward Filene of Boston, Jay went on to champion credit union development in the United States. Through Jay’s perseverance and service, he is widely acknowledged as having profoundly shaped credit union history.

NASCUS members annually may nominate for the award an individual or organization/committee that shows outstanding commitment and dedication to the state credit union system. Nominations are reviewed by NASCUS’ Pierre Jay Award Committee, and a winner is selected based on specific judging criteria.

NASCUS Pierre Jay Award