If you wanted to summarize James K. Roy’s time in the credit union industry, it might go something like this: Work hard, and success will come.
As a young college graduate with an accounting degree, Roy initially decided against earning his CPA license, and began working in corporate retail accounting. A few years later, he watched as younger guys were selected for promotions ahead of him, and knew he needed to put in some work.
So he enrolled at Suffolk University, where he earned his MBA at night and worked during the day. Then, inspired by what Roy called a “burst of academic energy,” he began studying for the CPA exam while juggling these other priorities. Amidst all of this, he left his job in cooperate accounting and took a senior auditing role at a CPA firm.
After completing his MBA and passing the CPA exam, Roy was introduced to the credit union world while working for an auditing firm that dealt only with credit unions. This eventually led to a job at CFO at Credit Union On-Line Inc. and later the CFO job at Cambridge Portuguese Credit Union, now Navio Credit Union. He’s been working in the industry ever since.
“Once you get bitten by credit unions, you tend to stick around,” Roy said. “It really is [about] people helping people.”
Roy was offered the CFO position at Tremont Credit Union in 2014. At the time, Tremont was struggling with management turnover and regulatory issues. Roy’s background as an auditor made him an attractive candidate for the credit union, and he willingly agreed to take on the challenge.
Roy quickly launched a complete overhaul of the institution’s finance department, and impressed colleagues with his willingness to do the tedious, not-so-glamorous work the position required, said Tremont Credit Union president and CEO George Hardiman.
“To create a new accounting [system] for a brand new credit union would be pretty easy for someone with Jim’s experience. [But] to go in and find out what your predecessors were doing and making sense of it, and then creating the new account system – it’s sort of like trying to make sense of a bowl of spaghetti, and Jim has done that,” Hardiman said.
Roy’s hard work has helped the credit union start to get back on its feet in the last couple of years. And now that it’s back in a stronger position, Roy said he’s most excited about the institution’s ability to start giving more back to the community.
Hardiman said Roy shows “an impressive desire to invest in the training of his staff,” and his contributions to the credit union extend far beyond his official CFO duties.
“Jim’s experience in the industry allows him to have a broader impact on the organization,” Hardiman said. “He’s offering valuable insights into lending and into operations and into compliance. He’s been a significant part of our success in the last few years.”