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LMCU Announces Sandra Jelinski’s Planned Retirement as President and CEO; Successor Named by LMCU Board

Grand Rapids, MI. (January 9, 2024) – The Board of Directors of Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU), the 16th largest credit union in the nation, is pleased to recognize the many contributions of Sandra (Sandy) Jelinski, 23-year President and CEO of LMCU, as she has shared her intent to retire in March of this year.

Commenting on the announcement, Gretchen Tellman, Board Chair for LMCU, said, “After an incredible career spanning several decades, including 23 years as President/CEO, and growing the credit union dramatically from $300 million to more than $13 billion, with over $16 billion in serviced portfolio mortgages and almost 600,000 members, I’m honored to announce that Sandy Jelinski will be retiring from LMCU. Her vision to transform the credit union into one of the leading financial institutions in the country, including expanding operations in Michigan and Florida, has positively shaped the last several decades. We wish Sandy all the best in her well-deserved retirement and are so very grateful for the leadership she has provided to LMCU, as well as the unwavering commitment she has had to serving our members, staff, and local communities,” Tellman continued.

“LMCU has been my professional home, and so much more, so the decision to retire is certainly bittersweet,” commented Jelinski. “Working alongside our Michigan and Florida teams, who are more than 1,650 strong, it has been a true privilege to help our members realize their financial dreams and goals. LMCU is blessed to have one of the absolute best management teams and Board of Directors, whose combined experience, talent, and drive will benefit my successor as they work together to drive the credit union to new heights and execute our long-term growth strategies.” 

In a related move, LMCU’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Julie Leonard (formerly Renderos) has been selected as Jelinski’s successor. She will begin her role as President and CEO of LMCU effective March 4, 2024. Leonard currently serves as Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Suncoast Credit Union, which is based in Tampa, Florida, and is the nation’s 10th largest credit union with over $17 billion in assets. She is an experienced leader with more than 25 years of financial services experience and has CPA, CCUE, and CUDE credentials. At Suncoast, Leonard was responsible for strategic planning, accounting, finance, technology, facilities, payment services, contact center, ITM tellers, and collection functions. Leonard earned a BBA degree in accounting from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of South Florida.

Commenting on her appointment, Leonard stated, “I am thrilled to be selected as the leader of such an amazing and successful credit union. What an honor to join such a talented team that improves the lives of its members and has such a positive impact on communities across Michigan and Florida. I look forward to working closely with the LMCU team to serve and positively impact our members by building on the impressive success LMCU has experienced under Sandy Jelinski’s leadership.”

“The Board is excited and pleased to welcome Julie to the LMCU team. She has clearly demonstrated that she is a charismatic, capable, and experienced leader, as well as a great team builder who is deeply engaged with the community,” Tellman said. “Julie brings a great depth of experience in financial services, and a keen understanding of the Florida market, as well as being a Michigan native. We are confident she will continue LMCU’s remarkable growth trajectory and solid commitment to always doing what is right for our members.”

Lake Michigan Credit Union, established in 1933, is the largest credit union in Michigan and 16th largest in the country. Employing a staff of over 1,650 and serving nearly 600,000 members, LMCU’s assets exceed $13 billion, with over $16 billion in portfolio and serviced mortgages. LMCU has 69 convenient branch locations, including 21 across Central and Southwest Florida. LMCU members have access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs worldwide. LMCU provides a full range of financial services, from high interest-bearing checking accounts to personal loans, mortgages, commercial banking, investments, and insurance.

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