December 2021 Newsletter

Dear CUANM Members & Friends,
Our monthly eNewsletter is designed to add value to our member credit unions while sharing upcoming initiatives and events. We’re excited to share what’s ahead in this five-minute update.

In cooperation,
Juan E. Fernández Ceballos, President & CEO

Team Updates

Melia D. Heimbuck

CUANM Welcomes New VP of Advocacy & Risk Management
In early December, the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUAMN) hired Melia D. Heimbuck, Esq, to serve in the league’s newly created position of Vice President of Advocacy & Risk Management.

“Melia will support New Mexicans by working with in-state credit unions to drive change, economic development, and shape policy through governmental and regulatory affairs work at both the New Mexico State Legislature and with our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C,” said Juan E. Fernández Ceballos. He added, “New Mexico credit unions, large and small, and their surrounding communities will benefit from Melia’s commitment to helping credit unions manage risk and comply with federal regulations and requirements.” Click here for the full news release.

Regina Colbert

Regina Colbert Set to Retire from Otero FCU January 2022
After 37+ years of dedication to NM’s credit union movement, Regina Colbert, Otero FCU’s CEO, has announced that she will retire in January 2022. 

Juan E. Fernandez Ceballos shared, “Devotion, commitment, and results describe Regina’s work ethic. She started her career as a teller and always remained in touch with her members, their struggles, triumphs, and needs.”

Amy Vigil, Executive Director of the New Mexico Credit Union Education Foundation & CUANM’s VP of Association Services, shared, “Thanks to Regina, hundreds of NM students were able to receive a scholarship while she was our Board Director. She was also committed to furthering NM’s Connected Academy initiative. She will be missed.” 

On behalf of CUANM’s staff, board of directors, and membership, we extend our warmest congratulations and best wishes to Regina as she embarks on her next chapter. Click here for the full news release.

Otero FCU Names Melene Street New CEO
CUANM congratulates and welcomes Melene Street as Otero FCU’s next CEO. Melene has been with Otero FCU for 24 years. We look forward to working with her and the FCU team. 

Upcoming Events

CUANM’s events are designed to engage members while passing along helpful resources for 2022 and beyond. Full details are available by using the hyperlinks below. Please share the following opportunities with your teams — we hope you can join us! 

Virtual Event: CU Public Awareness — Listen. Create. Deliver.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 1:30pm MT
Chris Lorence, Executive Director of CU Awareness LLC, will share how states are coming together to increase public awareness of credit unions. To learn more, please email Juan E. Fernández Ceballos at

Legal Issues Day
Thursday, January 20, 2022
CUANM Office

Legal Issues Day is an excellent opportunity for credit union compliance, bankruptcy, collections, lending, or operations professionals to learn about current topics and compliance regulations.

New Mexico Governmental Affairs Conference (NMGAC)
January 24-25, 2022
Santa Fe, NM

Powered by CUNA Mutual Group. Join us for two power-filled half-days of leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and educational opportunities. Participants will work with industry experts and network with peers and NM lawmakers. #AdvocatingNMForward 

Visit for our complete Events & Webinar schedule.

NM Credit Unions In The News — Media Updates

Los Alamos Public Schools CU Helps Create Co-Op Park & Receives $22K Grant
Earlier this year, the Los Alamos Public Schools Credit Union worked with area co-ops to create a greenspace project for community gatherings. The space features a small performance stage and classroom for concerts, a community garden, an area devoted to youth education, and more.

The Los Alamos Co-Op Park has received rave reviews and was awarded a $22K grant from T-Mobile to help complete the second phase of the installation. “In March 2022 we will begin our Phase 2 Campaign with a goal of raising $55,000, which will build the stage canopy, stage electric and solar panels,” said Los Alamos Public Schools Credit Union CEO/President Matt Schmidt. “This generous $22,000 grant from T-Mobile puts us well on our way to reaching our goal of having the park run on the sun!” Click here for the full article from the Los Alamos Daily Post. Photo by John McHale/

Stephanie Sherrodd

Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union Names New CEO
The board of directors for the $3.5 billion Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union recently announced that they had selected Stephanie Sherrodd to serve as its president/CEO starting on January 2, 2022.

Sherrodd will succeed current president/CEO Robert Chavez, who plans to retire from the Albuquerque, N.M.-based credit union in June 2022 after 21 years of service. Chavez will take on an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition process.

Click here for the full article from the Credit Union Times.

US Eagle Completes Program Surrounding Cannabis Banking Protocols
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas recently recognized US Eagle/Aery Group as the First Financial Institution in the United States to receive Certification for Cannabis and Hemp Banking Protocols. Click here to check out KRQE New 13’s coverage. 

Event Recaps

Virtual Town Hall with Jim Nussle — December 7, 2021
More than 20 credit union leaders from across the state joined us for a town hall with CUNA CEO & President Jim Nussle. We enjoyed discussing the bold new direction of the Association, and CUNA’s advocacy agenda focused on advancing members’ financial wellbeing and breaking down regulatory barriers. 

We also shared our continued commitment to delivering educational, networking, and impactful experiences for CUANM members in 2022 and beyond during the virtual gathering. Thank you to all who joined us!

Check Your Inboxes — Faces of NM Credit Unions
We hosted a complimentary headshot clinic during our Onward & Upward Leadership Summit.

We received a gallery of photos from the event, and our Director of Cooperative Development & Momentum sent personalized emails to participants. Please note, some recipients found the messages in their SP@M folders. If you did not receive your complimentary headshots, please email Melissa at

#PeopleHelpingPeople #ShareAllTheGoodThings

Notes of Encouragement Sent to Foundation Scholarship Recipients
At our November leadership summit, conference participants wrote notes of encouragement to the dozens of freshmen scholarship recipients attending accredited vocational or technical schools, colleges, and universities in NM.

These messages were sent on behalf of credit unions across the state. To our member credit unions, thank you for making this possible.

Scholarship Season Has Begun
The 2022/2023 New Mexico Credit Union Education Foundation scholarship season has begun. Please remember, applications are due Friday, February 25, 2022. 

To learn more, please visit or email Amy Vigil at

Endorsed Partner Update

For more information, please visit

From CUNA Mutual Group:
Learning From Top-Performing Credit Unions: Strategic Do’s & Don’ts

By Steve Heusuk, CUNA Mutual Group’s Senior Manager, Customer Intelligence

In 2008, the bottom fell out of the economy. The Great Recession devastated world financial markets, the banking industry, and real estate. During this time of great economic upheaval, CUNA Mutual Group launched what would become a series of informational presentations to raise thought-provoking questions and share strategic insights to help inform Credit Unions’(CU) strategies for surviving the recession and thriving beyond. Some of the topics explored included “Why the Credit Union System is Needed Now More Than Ever” and “Battle for the American Consumer”. As a member of the team that produced and delivered these early thought leadership presentations, I conducted much of the secondary research on these topics and helped create this content.

Fast forward 13-years. The COVID-19 global pandemic ushered in a new worldwide recession and I now lead CUNA Mutual’s annual thought leadership research effort to help inform CU strategies. Click here for the full article.

From Catalyst Corporate FCU
Digital Transformation Made Simple

By Karen Coble, Catalyst Corporate FCU Vice President of Sales

I set out to write a simple blog about how Catalyst Corporate’s TranzCapture service can make life easier for credit unions as they face digital transformation. But said blog took a detour in the direction of complexity.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist named Rube Goldberg caused my swerve toward complication. Goldberg gained fame in the early part of the 20th century when he drew hundreds of cartoons that featured zany inventions. His name became synonymous with comically over-engineered gadgets that performed simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Click here for the full article

Social Media Channels

Check us out on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest CUANM updates.