Inside Track: Goad finds satisfaction at the end of his career path
Coming from nothing, Lake Michigan Credit Union’s CFO knows how to work with customers.
Those days when it was hard to find two nickels to rub together remain firmly etched in his memory. His lean financial years turned into a rather convincing motivating force.
“When Claudia and I married, we had zero in our pockets,” said Goad, referring to his wife of 26 years.
“I bagged groceries, waited on tables and parked cars in downtown Miami,” said Goad, who earned an undergraduate degree from William Jennings Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., in 1986, majoring in classical and New Testament Greek.
His break in what became his career field came when he snagged a job with Sun Trust Bank in Miami as an operations/financial analyst and federal funds trader. He worked there from 1988-1993. And that’s when the juggling act commenced.
While Goad worked full time during the day, he decided to attend school at night to earn his MBA, a goal he reached in 1997 at Grand Valley State University. He has some advice about attending college in the evening: “Do it before the kids are old enough to remember you went to night school,” he said.
After Sun Trust Bank, Goad worked in senior financial management positions at the former Old Kent Financial Corp. from 1993-2001, then as CFO of Cornerstone University from 2001-2005 and as CFO with The Bank of Holland from 2005-2012.
“We’ve grown from $400 million in assets in 2000 to $2.7 billion today,” said Goad. “The credit union expanded its charter and is actively seeking to serve residents in 36 counties, west of Lansing.”
Some of this can be attributed to the nationwide merger/acquisition trend credit unions have experienced.
According to the National Credit Union Administration, about one-third of all credit unions operating in 2008 had participated in one merger between 1979 and 2008 — the same year mergers had to comply with revisions to the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 141. The effect of the new regulations is said to have made merger transactions more time consuming and complex for CFOs, management and their boards.
Goad declined to say if mergers were on the horizon for Lake Michigan Credit Union, but acknowledged it’s a trend that will be part of credit unions’ future.
“We’ve have had some mergers, and I would expect to have some more in the future,” he said. “The industry has been consolidated and I would expect it to continue because improving technology and increased regulations make it harder for smaller banks and smaller credit unions to compete against larger ones. So when an institution is small enough to be a community-focused institution but large enough to offer services and products that can compete with national institutions, we’re definitely in that space.”
Goad said he was drawn to Lake Michigan Credit Union in part because of his previous nonprofit work as Cornerstone University’s CFO and his volunteer work as a board member and treasurer for St. Cecilia Music Center and Closed Door Ministries International.
“There’s a sense of stewardship being CFO of a credit union and managing assets for the benefit of our members,” said Goad. “The difference (between a bank and a credit union) comes down to what we do with our earnings. Instead of taking our profits and distributing them to owners as dividends, we instead give our members higher rates on deposits and lower rates on loans.”
He’s an unabashed drum major for his new employer.
“I believe Lake Michigan Credit Union is the premier community banking organization in West Michigan,” he said, “because of our service, outstanding products and as a credit union, we’re here for the benefit of our members, not for outside shareholders.”
Serving on the board of Closed Door Ministries International is a reminder of the hardships people endure in some regions of the world, he said.
“We focus on mission work in the Far East (countries) that are harder for missionaries to work in,” said Goad. “They really focus on helping Christians in that part of the world to be economically self-sufficient so they don’t become dependent on outside giving but learn to lead their churches and their organizations on their own. You get to see the challenges that people face around the world when we have it so good here, and it makes you sensitive to those needs.”
Goad’s life has been one of getting around and moving around.
His father was a Baptist pastor for 38 years, including at Wealthy Street Baptist Church in the mid-1970s. He attended Crestwood Middle School in Kentwood, then moved to Atlanta just before he started ninth grade.
“He was disciplined and determined but caring for others,” Goad said of his father.
For some teens, no longer attending school with familiar faces might have been tough. But Goad said he was able to take in stride.
“I had a really good relationship with my parents,” he said. “I was an achiever in high school, so when I enrolled in my new school, I plugged in and made new friends.”
When he was growing up, Goad toyed with the idea of becoming a medical research scientist — pretty heady stuff for a child. He didn’t go that route but while still an undergraduate, he had thoughts of taking his classical and New Testament Greek major and going on to graduate school to eventually teach Greek at the college level.
But those plans were re-routed when he snagged a job at the bank in Miami and a friend recommended he read the job-hunting book by Richard Nelson Bolles: “What Color Is Your Parachute?” Now, as he looks back, he has no regrets about where he is today.
“I used the exercises in the book and what I found I would enjoy and be good at is banking and finance,” said Goad. “Those turned up as the top category. What I love about finance is banking is so quantitative, working to figure out this variable math problem,” said Goad.
Goad began working when he was 14, with a maintenance crew for Colonial Hills Christian Schools in Atlanta, a job he held for three summers.
“We learned how to overhaul a fleet of school buses, tune up engines and change brakes,” he said. “It was hard and rewarding work. Rewarding, because I could be done at the end of a day, knowing you’re going to get the job done and see the finished product.”
Goad learned a relative on his mother’s side and another on his father’s served in the Confederate Army during American Civil War, more than likely as enlisted soldiers. His lineage spurred a closer look at that war, such as the first and second battles of Bull Run.
“What an amazing place that was,” Goad said of Northern Virginia. “Just the major battles that were fought there and how close we came to having Washington invaded, and it was put back each time.”