Suffolk Federal Credit Union has named Michele Dean president and chief executive, replacing Ralph D. Spencer Jr., who is retiring.
Dean, who was chief strategy officer at Jovia Financial (formerly NEFCU), will take over June 15. She is the first woman to head Suffolk Federal in the credit union's 52-year history.
Prior to her time at Jovia, Dean spent 19 years at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, starting as a research analyst and working her way up to senior vice president of lending and investments.
“There was no doubt in our mind that Michele was the one that we wanted,” said James J. Maggio Jr., chairman of the board of directors at Suffolk Federal. “The more we talked during our interviews we saw that her vision and our vision for the credit union were synchronized.”
Maggio said the board started an “extensive search” late last year.
Dean is a longtime Smithtown resident who went to Suffolk Community College before attending SUNY Oswego, where she earned a degree in business administration. She also holds an MBA in corporate finance from Dowling College.
“I’m super excited for the opportunity,” Dean said Monday. Given all the challenges presented by COVID-19 – Dean completed her interviews for the job over video calls – she said the credit union will make integrating new technology a pillar of its strategy going forward.
“To stay relevant in our new world, especially coming out of COVID, we need to be an agile organization,” she said.
Additionally, Dean plans to lead the charge in expanding the financial institution’s footprint in Nassau County.
“I know the market,” she said. “I really understand the competition, the marketplace and the consumers.”
Chartered in 1967 by the National Credit Union Administration, Suffolk Federal has more than $1.3 billion in assets and more than 60,000 members.