United creditors connect
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UCC BOARD MEMBERS
UCC Board Members
The United Creditors Connect board consists of seasoned experts with deep roots in the credit union and finance realms. Their expertise covers collections, lending, and innovative financial services. Hailing from prominent credit unions and financial institutions, and with roles varying from consumer engagement to fraud control, this team is dedicated to pioneering innovation. Collectively, they guide the UCC to the pinnacle of the industry’s trajectory.
Chris Benson, President of the UCC and credit union industry leader, brings over 20 years of collections experience, and has an extensive background in delinquency management. Chris has spent over 15 years in the credit union space and is a former graduate of Western CUNA Management School. For 8 years, Chris served on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Hockey Officials Association and is also a USA Hockey certified officials instructor. As President of the UCC, Chris’ focus is to serve as a resource for collection and lending professionals who are seeking up-to-date insight on topics impacting our industry.
Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and his two furry children (Bulldogs). He also enjoys helping coach his daughter’s travel softball club, in addition to (what seems to be) every free weekend at the softball and/or baseball field!
Stephen Leggett is the Vice President of Loan Resolutions for Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU), the largest credit union in Houston, Texas and has responsibility for collections, recoveries, and loss mitigation. Stephen has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Stephen has been in executive leadership roles with Washington Mutual, Toyota Financial, Countrywide, GC Services and Oportun. After leaving Oportun, Stephen partnered with private equity fund Pinto America to create Barri Financial Group, focusing on providing credit and financial services to Hispanic and underserved customers. Prior to joining TDECU Stephen was with the Center for Business Solutions providing Management Operating System and business improvement consulting to the financial services industry where he worked with companies such as USAA, Ally Bank, Ditech Financial and Avant.
Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and is a board member of the Texas Consumer Finance Association, the United Creditors Connect and serves on the Default Management Committee of the Consumer Bankers Association.
Treasurer / Vendor Committee
Michael Hernandez is a seasoned financial veteran with over three decades of experience. His extensive expertise spans the gamut of finance, covering Consumer Lending, Collections, Real Estate Lending, BSA/AML Financial Crimes Risk Management, and Commercial Lending. Michael excels at building strong financial relationships with both consumers and businesses.
Educated at California State University Northridge and Mt San Antonio College, Michael’s achievements shine in software implementation for lending and collections. As a trusted beta tester for multiple vendors, he’s contributed to the enhancement of core systems, loan origination, collections platforms, skip tracing, and insurance tracking.
Beyond finance, Michael enjoys golf, music, and collecting vintage golf equipment. His journey is marked by resilience, having triumphed over a massive bilateral pulmonary embolism.
Michael Hernandez embodies a unique blend of financial expertise, unwavering determination, and diverse interests.
Tom Farmer boasts an impressive tenure of more than 35 years in the fields of lending and collections. Throughout his distinguished career, he has lent his expertise to numerous banks and credit unions. Notably, he has dedicated the past 23 years to the credit union industry, serving on the executive teams of institutions of various scales, ranging from $160 million to a staggering $3.5 billion in assets.
Lisa Bagley serves as Sr. AVP of Collections and Loss Mitigation at INOVA Federal Credit Union in Elkhart, Indiana. Lisa joined INOVA Federal Credit Union in 1999 and oversees consumer and mortgage collections, foreclosures, repossessions, bankruptcy, recoveries, and fraud. Lisa has over 36 years of
financial service experience including lending, underwriting, loan processing and mortgage servicing.
Jacqueline Garcia is the Specialty Team Manager at Meritrust Federal Credit Union located in Wichita, Kansas. Joining the credit union 7 years ago, Jacqueline is responsible for overseeing key areas including repossession, insurance, legal and recovery, bankruptcy, and mortgage collections. With an impressive tenure of over 36 years in the collections domain, Jacqueline possesses an in-depth knowledge of the rules and regulations specific to credit unions. Furthermore, Jacqueline has extensive experience in legal collection litigation among other areas of expertise.
Brian Hartwigsen began his illustrious career in commercial banking, dedicating seven years to the sector before transitioning to the credit union industry. Over the subsequent 28 years, he has collaborated with five distinct credit unions, taking on a myriad of roles. His extensive responsibilities have spanned Consumer, Indirect, Mortgage, and Business Lending, as well as collections, underwriting, credit card management, compliance, budgeting, and strategic planning. A graduate of the CUES executive school, Hartwigsen also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Central Florida. Beyond his primary roles, he has been an esteemed member of several advisory boards, including those for COOP, Origence, and a notable fintech.
With a storied career spanning over 20 years, Shannon Stewart stands as a luminary in the financial arena. His leadership legacy is underscored by pivotal roles ranging from executive positions to directorships within influential financial establishments. His consultancy expertise is underscored by his tenure at the 5th largest credit union in the U.S., as well as his instrumental role in guiding FinTech startups through crucial Series A, B, and C funding phases.
Beyond strategy and management, Shannon possesses an unparalleled skill in infrastructural development. He’s masterminded the inception of 8 call centers nationally and innovated 5 new business units, ensuring seamless processes and operational brilliance. As a business process consultant, Shannon’s commitment to nurturing talent shines, providing invaluable mentorship across diverse sectors.
Outside the confines of corporate halls, Shannon’s civic spirit is evident. He serves with dedication on boards like the YMCA, Meals on Wheels, and the African American Credit Union Coalition. Balancing gravitas with camaraderie, Shannon also cherishes golfing rounds with peers and colleagues.
Xavier Carrillo brings a robust expertise in mortgage and auto lending to his role as the AVP of Collections at UNIFY Financial Credit Union. His career commenced with Citi in Customer Service and Sales, laying a foundational knowledge that propelled him into collections. Xavier has adeptly managed the daily operations across multiple domains, including mortgage servicing, bankruptcy, foreclosure, loan servicing, and account servicing. His tenure in the financial sector has seen him navigate the unique landscapes of captive, bank, and credit union markets, enriching his understanding of each.
A Master of Business Administration holder from the University of Phoenix, Carrillo’s education also includes a Bachelor’s in Accounting and Business/Management. His commitment to continuous learning is reflected in his mastery of systems such as Temenos and Crystal Reporting, enhancing his ability to navigate data restrictions and maximize system records.
Xavier’s career has been marked by a series of progressive leadership roles, from overseeing lending solutions to risk management, emphasizing his wide-ranging competence in the credit union field.