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UMassFive College Federal Credit Union Announces New Board Leadership

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced new leadership for its board of directors. Jacqui Watrous has been elected as board chair, Ruth Yanka as board vice chair, and Jeremy Bentley as board secretary.

Watrous has served on the UMassFive board of directors for more than seven years, including most recently as board vice chair. Stepping into the board chair role, she noted that “I remain as ever passionate about the continued success of the credit union in achieving its financial goals and meeting member needs.”

Watrous holds a BBA in finance and an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Now retired, she previously worked at UMass Amherst for more than 30 years, having held a variety of positions in the finance and systems fields, including most recently the role of executive director of Administrative Systems in Finance.

Yanka has volunteered on UMassFive’s board for more than 12 years, serving in many capacities, including board member and secretary. Serving once again as UMassFive’s board vice chair, she is committed to the credit union’s mission of always putting members first, making a positive impact on their financial well-being, and practicing and promoting cooperative values.

Yanka holds a master’s degree in program administration from UMass Amherst and has served on the board of many nonprofit organizations in a variety of positions, from member to treasurer to president. Her work history responsibilities have always included operations, budget, and personnel. She currently holds the role of executive director, A&F Operations in Administration and Finance at UMass Amherst.

Bentley first joined the UMassFive board of directors in 2022, having previously served as a volunteer on the credit union’s asset and liability management committee when he moved to the area after completing his Ph.D. in accounting from Cornell University. As board secretary, he will continue to use his expertise to help the credit union grow in a responsible way that benefits members and the local community.

Bentley currently serves as a research foundation director for the Institute of Management Accountants and in multiple positions with the American Accounting Assoc. He is also the Richard Dieter & Susan Dieter faculty fellow and an associate professor at UMass Amherst, where he teaches financial and managerial accounting and examines how accounting systems change the way people think about and report on their performance.

With this transition in board leadership, Robert Harrison ends a decade-long tenure in the role of UMassFive board chair. He will continue serving as a board member of the credit union.

During his time as board chair, Harrison led the credit union on many major milestones and project implementations, including a change in executive leadership in 2017, when longtime president and CEO Kathy Hutchinson retired and was succeed by then-COO Rich Kump, who continues as president and CEO today. Most noteworthy is Harrison’s passion and vision for building a UMassFive Commercial Services department to support the local business community with financial advice and products.

In addition, Harrison oversaw several credit union expansions, which included a relocation of the Northampton Branch to a standalone facility on King Street, as well as the mergers of CUPS Federal Credit Union at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and Northampton VAF Federal Credit Union in Leeds. Harrison also held the board chair role as UMassFive became a leader in solar- and green-energy financing in the state of Massachusetts, and furthered its support of local agriculture with a 10-year, $100,000 commitment to Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).

At the start of Harrison’s board chair tenure, UMassFive’s assets and membership stood at $385 million and 32,000, respectively. Today, the credit union boasts more than $700 million in assets and nearly 50,000 members.