Changes are afoot at Ent Credit Union, as CEO Randy Bernstein has announced his retirement while the state’s largest credit union continues to expand – both in Colorado Springs and in Douglas County.
Bernstein said Monday that he will retire Oct. 3, after three years as CEO and 20 years with Ent. He became Ent’s president and chief operating officer in 2011.
Chad Graves will succeed Bernstein as CEO. Graves is Ent’s senior executive vice president of operations and technology.
“I’ve been mentoring Chad for about one and a half years as part of our board’s required succession plan,” Bernstein said. “Chad has been in charge of our northern expansion.”
Ent changed from a federal charter — which allowed business in El Paso, Teller and Pueblo counties — to a state charter in January 2016, which allowed it to expand into four new counties: Douglas, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Fremont.
“We don’t want to abandon our base, though,” Bernstein said. “We’re strongly committed to El Paso, Teller and Pueblo counties.”
Ent recently opened its 28th branch in south Castle Rock and has broken ground on another location just north of the outlet mall in Castle Rock.
A new full-service branch is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018 near the northeast corner of Nevada Avenue and Austin Bluffs Parkway, on the campus of the UCCS. Ent already has a small location in the UCCS student union.
“The new campus branch will be open to all of our members,” Bernstein said. “That area is such a growing neighborhood with University Village across the street.”
Two more full-services locations are scheduled to open in the first half of 2018, Graves said. One is at Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road, the other on Interquest Parkway just east of Interstate 25.
“We just closed on both pieces of property with Nor’wod (Development Group),” Graves said. “As Colorado Springs grows, we want to make sure we serve our members, and we thought those were underserved areas.”
A relatively new feature called Ent Express is available at two Colorado Springs locations — Polaris Pointe on Interquest and at Woodmen and Campus Drive — and another in Pueblo. Those locations offer two-way video service with an Ent employee in the customer service center.
“It allows for more service than an ATM,” Graves said. “Anything you can do at a drive-through window is available.”
Bernstein, 65, who was a credit union consultant before joining Ent, said it was simply “time to hang it up.”
“Ent has come a long way in 20 years and I got to be part of that,” he said. “We’re on a great trajectory and our financial outlook is rock solid.”
Graves said, despite his promotion, it’s hard to see Bernstein leave.
“It’s hard to see a family member take off,” said Graves, 45.
Bernstein said the board decided in May that Graves would succeed him.
“I’m very excited, and also very humbled,” Graves said. “I’m following in the footsteps of a great industry leader. Randy is a legend in the credit union industry.”
Bernstein said he’ll vacation in Hawaii with his wife and that they plan to visit every Major League Baseball stadium in the next three years, while also enjoying time in those cities.
“We’re both baseball fans,” he said, “so that’ll be a lot of fun. I know Ent is in great shape and Chad is ready to take over.”
Ent, which has nearly $5 billion in assets, averages 6 to 8 percent growth a year, Graves said.
“I don’t know that we’re ever motivated by a number or a goal for growth,” Graves said. “We want to grow safe and sound and do what’s best for our members.”