A tribute to one of our favorite credit union champions.

Carla Rasetta announces her resignation as CEO of Mills42 FCU.

Mills42 is a “small but mighty” credit union located in downtown Lowell, MA. Carla Rasetta is their CEO and an authentic credit union champion who eats, breathes and sleeps the philosophy of the movement.

She is a dynamo in every sense of the word—as witnessed by her passion for distance running and participation in multiple marathons. Carla has been with Mills42 for 17 years, the last 10 as CEO. During her tenure, she has literally reshaped this credit union in every sense.

When we first met

We met Carla via a phone call in 2012 when she asked if we were interested in rebranding the credit union, then named M/A-Com FCU.

At the time, the credit union was facing a serious identity crisis. M/A-Com had pulled most of their operations out of the region, along with most of the high-income, white-collar employees who had comprised the credit union’s core membership. Rather than panicking at this turn of events, Carla realized she had been presented the perfect opportunity to recast the credit union’s mission by focusing on the underserved, lower income residents of Greater Lowell—many of whom are first generation immigrants. A very risky decision for such a small credit union, but a passion to help these individuals is just in her DNA.

Of course, we immediately embraced Carla’s mission, and we did what we do: mined what was unique and profoundly special about this tiny little $14 million credit union. M/A-Com FCU became Mills42 FCU—Mills is a nod to the very rich history of the textile industry in Lowell. And, the 42 is a reference to the latitude of Lowell on the globe. More importantly, their new brand position, Build from here, immediately identifies what Mills42 is all about.

Reaching the unbanked

Carla’s decision to shift focus to a demographic very few financial institutions, including many credit unions, are interested in working with has been victorious on many levels, including the key business results of Mills42. Examples:

  • Asset growth to nearly $26 million
  • Net worth growth of 44%
  • A negligible loan delinquency ratio
  • Awards of $300,000 in grant funds to further their mission of serving underbanked, lower income members
  • Most importantly to Carla herself, development of a team of credit union professionals (virtually all of whom are fluent in Spanish, Portuguese or Khmer) who are as knowledgeable and as passionate about helping their members build from here as Carla is herself. In fact, Carla is proud to tell you that her team is so fierce that she refers to them as the credit union version of a Navy Seal Team.

Carla has just announced her resignation from the credit union effective December 4th, as she will be taking a role in her family’s business. As you may imagine, this was a mighty tough decision for her and she is very emotional about it. At the same time, though, she knows she has established a brilliant foundation for her successor, and that is a tremendous legacy in and of itself.

There is good news here. We are thrilled that Carla will be taking a position on the Mills42 FCU Board of Directors. She will remain a force to be reckoned with, and we are all grateful for that.