Beyond Blaine: Retirement And Succession

In May 2016, industry maverick Jim Blaine announced his retirement from State Employees’ Credit Union. His successor, longtime SECU executive Mike Lord, was named soon after. In this ongoing series, details Blaine’s history with the credit union and the movement, how SECU arrived at a successor, and what’s next under Lord for the $30 billion institution.

Marc Rapport

By Marc Rapport


Jim Blaine, CEO of State Employees' Credit Union, will retire after more than four decades with the credit union.

Scroll through the timeline below to see SECU milestones and read more about the succession of Jim Blaine.

Part I: Retirement And Succession

Nation's biggest state-chartered credit union must plot course for the future without its iconic CEO.

After more than 35 years leading State Employees’ Credit Union ($33.3B, Raleigh, NC), industry heavyweight Jim Blaine announced his retirement in May 2016.

Blaine has served as the CEO of SECU since 1979 and has worked for the North Carolina cooperative for 45 years. His successor, veteran CFO Mike Lord, takes over on Sept. 1.

SECU defies conventional wisdom in its approach to member and community service, and powers its bottom line with a heady dose of hard-eyed pragmatism and what its longtime leader calls some “eccentricities.”

Under Blaine’s leadership, SECU became a $33 billion institution that serves more than 2 million members through a network that includes a brick-and-mortar presence in each of the 100 counties in North Carolina.

How’d SECU do it? And how does the nation’s second-largest credit union move on without its vocal front man? Through a series of interviews with, Blaine and Lord and their colleagues will explore the process of tapping the next in line, looking back to the succession planning that preceded Blaine's departure and forward through the strategic thinking that informs the road ahead.

What can you learn from the team at SECU? Click here for a listing of best practice articles, Q&As, first person commentaries, and more.


July 18, 2016


  • Mike Lord was an excellent choice to replace Jim Blaine, especially given where SECU wants to go over the next few years. Congratulations Mike, as well as the Board and staff of SECU.
    Tim O'Rourke
  • Thanks for your observation, Tim.
    Marc Rapport