DMCU Appoints Sati Smith as New CEO
Diversified Members Credit Union (DMCU), formerly known as Detroit Municipal and Detroit Metropolitan Credit Union, opened its doors on November 2, 1929, in the Lafayette Building on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Only three days earlier, the nation experienced the Great Stock Market Crash of '29.
Today, 94 years later, the credit union (now headquartered on East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit) is still making history. DMCU has announced Sati Smith as the first African American woman CEO to lead the organization; she is one of the few African American women in the United States to hold that role.
“This a major accomplishment not only for me and my family, but for the entire community,” said Smith. “It sends a strong message to women and other minorities that we can break glass ceilings. We can accomplish what we want to accomplish. My sincere hope is that this will inspire others.”
As CEO, Smith will provide overall leadership and strategic vision for DMCU, working with the Board of Directors to assure adherence to its community-based approach to financial services. She will provide oversight for DMCU’s operations, ensuring its services continue at the highest standard, and its member-supported policies and procedures are properly implemented. She will also play an integral role in developing future goals for DMCU that prioritize the continued support of its diverse membership.
“The foundation of DMCU is the many wonderful people that we serve,” said Smith. “We see our members as individuals with their own stories, struggles and triumphs. This approach has kept DMCU going strong for nearly a century and will continue to set us apart in the increasingly competitive financial landscape.”
Over the last 25 years, Smith has worked her way up from a teller with Kemba Financial Credit Union in 1998 to a data processing clerk, IT manager, branch manager, operations manager, and Chief Operating Officer with DMCU. She openly shares her story of being a single mother on welfare who had not graduated from high school when she started her career.
While rising through the ranks and raising her daughter, Smith got a GED and put herself through college, earning a Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts from Ashland Theological Seminary. Her daughter, now 31, works at DMCU as a loan processor.
“Every one of our employees knows my story. That’s what motivates me to coach and develop others and help them see their true potential,” she continued. “One of my goals is to give employees hope that they can advance, to develop them to achieve something greater. I love people. I love helping people – that’s my passion.”
“Sati’s promotion marks the beginning of reaching new goals and heights in her career and is also the start of a new chapter for DMCU,” said David H. Brooks III, Diversified Members Credit Union Board Chair. “The board of directors is proud of Sati’s accomplishments. We know she’ll be an outstanding mentor and role model, and we look forward to her leadership and innovative initiatives to come.”
Smith takes over the role of CEO from Kathie Trembath, her longtime mentor, who is retiring after four decades in the credit union industry and nearly two decades with DMCU. Trembath will stay on as a consultant for the next several months.