1st Financial Announces Retirement of Chief Operations Officer after 35 Years at Credit Union

WENTZVILLE, MO (December 12, 2016) – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), recently announced the retirement of the Chief Operations Officer, Mary Jo Garofalo.

mary jo garafalo 1st financial

Garofalo began her career at 1st Financial as a part-time file clerk in 1981. Since then she has played many roles at 1st Financial including loan administrator, Visa program manager, branch manager, and vice president of operations.

In 2007, Garofalo assumed the role of chief operations officer at 1st Financial. She currently oversees the daily operations of their four local branches: Wentzville and St. Charles in St. Charles County, Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and Washington Ave, in the heart of the City of St. Louis.  She also oversees the contact center.

“Mary Jo has made a significant contribution to 1st Financial and her DNA has been woven into the very fabric of this organization,” said 1st Financial CEO, Carol Minges.  “We will miss her unfiltered words of wisdom, humor and unique view of life.”

With a career spanning three decades, Garofalo has witnessed the evolution of technology in the banking industry. From faxes to email and typewriters to computers, the business operations and the needs of the members have changed dramatically through the years.mary jo garafalo early years

Focused on staying competitive in the banking industry and being an advocate for all credit unions, Garofalo participated in introducing the idea of bringing credit union shared branching to Missouri. 1st Financial had the honor of being the first credit union in the United States to open accounts for other credit unions as part of the shared branch network. The shared branch network is now a nationwide network of more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and 5,000 credit union shared branch locations.

Garofalo also spearheaded the introduction of many new products and services for 1st Financial members like mobile and online banking, mobile wallets, SnapDeposit, RollUp Savings, and instant issue debit cards.

“My career at 1st Financial has spanned over 35 years and I will miss that part of my life. However, I’m excited to start the next chapter and am looking forward to spending lots of time with my granddaughters,” said Garofalo.

“While we are thrilled for Mary Jo and her new found freedom it is difficult to see her go,” said 1st Financial Chief Lending Officer Michelle Rosner.  “She embodies what credit unions are about…she enjoys helping people.  Whether giving her managers the autonomy to grow their branches or giving life lessons in leadership, Mary Jo’s presence will be greatly missed.  We are a better credit union because of Mary Jo.”

Following Garofalo’s retirement, Lone Callahan, formerly the Vice President Branch Operations at Harvester Financial Credit Union in Indianapolis, will assume the title of vice president of member experience at 1st Financial.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, visit www.thebetterwaytobank.org.


About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and over $220 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.