Municipal Credit Union released from government custody after 3 years in penalty box

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But the member-owned nonprofit was devastated when former CEO Kam Wong was charged with embezzlement in 2018. He pleaded guilty a year later and is serving 66 months in prison. Former board chairwoman Sylvia Ash, a Brooklyn state judge, was convicted at trial last year for trying to cover up Wong’s crimes and is awaiting sentencing. A second board member was sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to diverting money from the credit union to a nonprofit he controlled.

The MCU was seized by the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2019 and Markland, a 40-year veteran who ran credit unions in Minnesota and Long Island, was installed in 2020 to fix the mess. Typically, foreclosed financial institutions are liquidated and customer accounts transferred to another lender.

In addition to a new management team, MCU has a new board of directors led by chairman Tom Canty, vice chairman of insurer Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and vice chairman Meisha Porter, the former chancellor schools in New York.

“We will strive to focus on the needs of our members and follow the principles of those who founded this credit union: to ensure that its members have equal access to financial services,” Canty said in a statement.

After focusing on its internal consolidation, Markland said, MCU is eager to reintroduce itself and plans to start marketing again to attract more city workers and their families as customers. The credit union’s name once appeared on the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium.

The executives were told over the phone that the MCU would be released from government custody, and an official email arrived five minutes later, just as a board meeting was winding down.

“The best part was that employees started coming back to the office, so we could share the news in person,” Markland said. “There were a lot of high-fives.”

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