Brian Albrecht, president and CEO of Credit Union of Georgia, grew up in Woodstock and attended Woodstock High School. After graduation, he moved to Valdosta, where he attended Valdosta State University. While at VSU, he obtained two bachelor of business administration degrees in management and finance. During his last two years in Valdosta, Brian began his professional career with SunTrust Bank, where he held a variety of roles. Shortly after transferring to the north Atlanta area Brian began his career with Credit Union of Georgia. Brian started as a member service representative and quickly worked his way up to branch manager before becoming director of lending and later taking on the role of VP of finance and accounting. Last month, he was named president and chief executive officer of the Credit Union. Brian’s roles have allowed him to be directly involved with strategic planning, consumer and commercial lending, product development, digital delivery channels, payment services, industry partnerships, political advocacy and the overall financial health of the Credit Union. He has now been with the Credit Union for 10.5 years and has a unique insight and perspective on the Credit Union, having gained his knowledge and experience through various levels of the organization. During his time with the Credit Union, Brian obtained a MBA from Kennesaw State University.
What inspires you to be successful?
First and foremost, it is the opportunity and responsibility I have to ensure that an institution that has been around for nearly 60 years serving educators and individuals in the community continues to flourish in Northwest Georgia. My hope is to create a positive impact on the Credit Union that will last for years to come, even after I retire. The board has placed a great deal of trust in me to make this happen. On a more personal level, what inspires me to be successful is innate. I have been a hard worker since I took my first “real” job at the age of 15 and I strive to do my best every day. Over the years, this has led to success. I get excited about the challenges that I encounter and see them as opportunities to learn and grow.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
This role is new to me, but what I love about the Credit Union is the overall mission. We are a not-for-profit organization. We are in business to help individuals and businesses in our community afford life and reach their financial goals. When you are in business first to help people and second to make money for the sole purpose of providing additional products and services to the members and communities, it makes the job fun!
What are some of the challenges facing your industry and what are you doing to combat those challenges?
Technology. I am sure this isn’t specific to our industry, but when you think about the way our expectations as consumers have changed in recent years, it is pretty amazing. A few years ago, you would have never dreamed that you can have something delivered to you within a couple of hours of clicking a button online. We are allocating significant time and resources on making it easier to do business with the Credit Union. As we move forward, technology will continue to evolve along with our member’s expectations and we will have to be willing and able to adapt to remain relevant in the market.
Competition is changing as well. We have always had financial institutions down the road creating traditional competition, but now we have non-traditional banking moving into the market. By non-traditional banking, I am referring to companies like SOFI, Lending Club, Prosper and other online or remote financial options. We are aware of these institutions and understand that the big appeal is ease of access and quick turnaround. Therefore, we have a focus on improving our ease of access and we are committed to adapting as our member’s needs change.
Like most financial institutions, the regulatory burden has significantly increased on our business over the last 10 years. We work with local representatives, Political Action Committees, our local League (Georgia Credit Union Affiliates) and national organizations such as the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to ensure our message is being heard by the appropriate individuals at the State and Federal level.
Tell us about your upbringing (where you grew up, parents' careers, etc.) and how that might have shaped you in your life and career.
I grew up locally in Cherokee County. My parents played a huge role in who I am today; they taught me the value of a dollar and a hard day’s work. I started working when I was 15 and I can only recall a few months when I first started college that I did not have to work. My parents stressed the importance of a good education and helped me throughout my undergraduate programs, and have always been supportive. I would not be where I am today without my family. I am a fortunate man and I thank the Lord daily.
What are some of your personal interests/hobbies and causes you support outside of the office?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching college football and grilling out.
When time permits, I enjoy playing golf, although I am not very good.
What does the future hold for your company/position? Any plans for growth?
Yes, Credit Union of Georgia has enjoyed a great deal of success since 1960 and tremendous growth more recently. We are planning for the growth to continue with new branch locations. This will allow us to provide additional value to our members and the communities we serve.