Name: Pete Dzuris
CU: Northland Area FCU (BO)
Assets: $220 million
CEO Since: 2006
First Employed in
CU Movement: 1995
One of the benefits of working in the credit union industry is the sense of shared interest, rather than competition. Credit unions have made great strides by advocating for their common goals, and the turmoil in the financial world has opened new political doors for the movement. Taking advantage of such opportunities requires the dedication of individuals throughout the industry, and Michigan’s credit union leaders have shown their commitment through the years.
Pete Dzuris, President and CEO of Northland Area FCU (BO) in Oscoda, is on the front lines of the current battles as a newly elected member of CUNA’s board of directors. A veteran of the industry with more than ten years as a CEO, Dzuris has served Michigan on the boards of directors of CUcorp, CU Village and CUES Michigan Council. He has also served the Blue Ox and Mid Michigan Chapters and participated in Michigan Credit Union League task forces including Education Needs, Bankruptcy and Business Services. Most importantly, his actions are motivated by the desire to make a positive impact on the credit union community.
Dzuris grew up in North Oakland County in metro Detroit – his first credit union was Orion Oxford Community Credit Union (now Lakes Credit Union). He attended Walsh College, completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in finance. At the time, his goal was to become a CPA.
“After working for a bank doing internal audits and for a small accounting firm doing CPA auditing, I moved into the credit union industry because I felt I could contribute more in the current world – as opposed to auditing historical data,” says Dzuris. “Credit unions can do meaningful work because of their legal and tax privileges, which we must continue to fight to protect.”
Michigan Catholic CU (OC) gave Dzuris his first leadership position: He served as its vice president of finance for three years before his first CEO position at Saginaw County Employees CU (MM). He also served as president and CEO for seven years at Members First CU (MM) before arriving at Northland Area FCU in 2006.
His desire to advocate for credit unions at the state – and later, national – level led Dzuris to take on leadership roles within his chapters, MCUL and CUNA. It provided him an opportunity to use his experience to offer a vision for the future of Michigan’s credit unions, and to help prepare them for the potentially difficult times ahead.
“I think credit unions are going through a paradigm change. The status quo is no longer an option,” Dzuris says. “We need to evolve and adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands, the demands of government intervention, and other forces beyond our control. We cannot afford to allow our future to be defined by our competition.”
Advocacy is at the center of Dzuris’s work outside his credit union. Most importantly, he believes in the importance of building relationships with legislators and working to convey the benefits of credit unions and their work.
“We need to be in control of our destiny and the laws and regulations that will affect our ability to operate well into the foreseeable future,” he says. “This is possible through the development and fostering of the relationships we have with our elected officials.”
While the work is a significant commitment, they also give Dzuris the opportunity to serve the community and his credit union by staying on the cutting edge of information affecting the national scene.
“From the day I received notice that I had been elected to the CUNA board, I have been informed of virtually everything that CUNA is involved in,” says Dzuris. “One of the major advantages of being involved at this level is the speed at which information is disseminated to board members. As a CUNA board member, I hope to contribute to the solutions of many of the problems facing credit unions in these difficult and challenging times.”
Beyond the office, Dzuris enjoys spending time with his wife, Debbie, and his three children. He also takes advantage of northeastern Michigan’s recreational opportunities, especially going to the beach or out on his boat during the summer.