Interview with Mike Athens, President & CEO


Rio Grande Credit Union


RGCU has been in business since 1953, and we have 150 employees.

Mission and Slogan

Our stated mission is to create a trusted partnership with our members that demonstrates excellent member service by providing financial education and solutions, competitive pricing, and convenience.

We believe we exist to make people’s dreams come true.

Our slogan is that at Rio Grande, we understand. 

What does your company do/what industry do you represent?

Rio Grande Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that provides savings, checking, lending, and payment solutions for the communities we serve.  

What makes your company or organization unique?

Rio Grande Credit Union understands everyday people and has the financial solutions and services to help them wherever they are in life. RGCU’s difference can be summarized in the following four categories:

FLEXIBILITY. RGCU has the flexibility to customize loans and provide financial solutions that suit our members’ situations.

DIVERSITY. RGCU’s board members, managers, and employees reflect the community the credit union serves. Diversity leads to better service, greater innovation and creativity, improved solutions, and increased membership, which ultimately makes the cooperative stronger.

INCLUSION. We call it banking without barriers. RGCU is dedicated to providing affordable financial access to our entire community and a support system for our members’ financial well-being. We honor the value that each member brings.

COMMUNITY. Rio Grande Credit Union is committed to serving our community in a way that is personal.  We seek to understand and address the needs of our community by working with diverse organizations that have first-hand experience working with unique populations. 

Is your business growing and do you plan to hire in the next 6 months?

RGCU is most definitely growing. The ways members can do business with the credit union have expanded, in a large part through online and electronic means. But there are people behind every technology that must ensure we fulfill what the online channels promise. We will be hiring in those areas. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you do business?

As COVID accelerated trends we were already seeing. People were already migrating toward self-serve channels like online and mobile banking, text banking, and video banking. But the pandemic sped up that process. People who never used digital channels for banking before tried them, discovered how convenient they are, and may never go back to traditional face-to-face banking the way they used to. 

Please share one goal you have set for 2021.

Like all organizations, RGCU has strong growth goals both in membership and in product and service penetration. But our biggest goal is to make it easier to do business with Rio Grande Credit Union. That means focusing on service quality, improving our processes, and enhancing our technology. 

Describe where you see technology in the year the 2030.

Interestingly, 2030 isn’t that far away. In the financial services space, the thing that will likely have a significant impact are advances in artificial intelligence. The sector of our industry that will be most disrupted is the payment arena. Alexa can already pay your bills from your RGCU accounts. Tokenization platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay pose the potential to make plastic cards obsolete. That’s where we are seeing the most competition and the most disruption.

What would your team say is their favorite- red, green, or Christmas?

That’s a loaded question. Which is hotter?  


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For more information about membership with the NMTC, contact Mary Tieman.
Thank you to our Community Partners!