Retired President/CEO of World Council of Credit Unions. Under Crear’s leadership, WOCCU significantly expanded not only its membership, but also its influence in credit union development worldwide.
WOCCU launched development programs in Ethiopia, Haiti, Peru and other countries, as well as seeing its development program in Afghanistan grow significantly. During his tenure, WOCCU convened its first technical congresses to train credit union managers in Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific.
WOCCU also launched the European Network of Credit Unions, the International Credit Union Regulators’ Network and the Global Women’s Leadership Network, a peer-to-peer and educational network that brings together women credit union leaders from both developed and developing countries.
In his six years at WOCCU’s helm, the organization successfully lobbied on behalf of member organizations in Costa Rica, Poland and other countries, as well as helped foster the passage of credit union legislation in Kenya and Malawi. The organization also represented the global credit union movement before the United Nations, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Accounting Standards Board and other international monetary organizations, successfully making the case for proper regulatory oversight on behalf of credit unions worldwide.
Prior to joining WOCCU, Crear was CUNA’s executive vice president of external relations and, before that, executive vice president and chief operating officer responsible for daily operations of the Madison, WI offices. In his career, he is credited with organizing 23 credit unions in his home state of Michigan, and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut and Indiana Credit Union Leagues.
In 2008, the Foundation for Polish Credit Unions, part of the Polish credit union system, awarded Crear the Feniks Prize, the Polish system’s most prestigious award, for WOCCU’s work helping strengthen credit unions in Eastern Europe. In 2007, he earned the Michigan Credit Union League’s (MCUL) Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into the MCUL Hall of Fame. In 2006, the Consumer Federation of America awarded him the Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.
Crear also received the African-American Credit Union Lifetime Achievement Award, which was subsequently named after him, and a college scholarship was established in his name. He was inducted into both the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES) Hall of Fame and the Cooperative Development Foundation Hall of Fame and received the National Credit Union Foundation Herb Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award, the U.S. credit union movement’s highest honor.