Denise Boutross McGlone has managed impressively big portfolios and sophisticated treasuries in her three decades in finance, having formerly served as CFO of the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) and Gain Capital Group as well as the North American treasurer of Paris-based global telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent. So why did she agree in July to sign on with the Affinity Federal Credit Union with a mere $2.5 billion in assets under management? McGlone can't resist a challenge.Using her position at Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Affinity, McGlone is aiming "to bring this sleepy industry into the 21st century" through a higher level of risk management and automation." Given her extensive background in capital and risk management, if anyone can overcome industry inertia, it's probably McGlone.

One of her first goals: push Affinity into the derivatives markets, an arena where credit unions have lagged for-profit enterprises. This is a high comfort zone for McGlone, after her days as global head of derivatives at Dai-Ichi Kango Bank 20 years ago. Her past successes encourage her to attempt radical change. "If you know what you're doing, derivatives are a good risk management tool," she says. "If you don't, you make headlines."

As CFO, McGlone also heads up Affinity's information technology department, which includes enterprise risk management (ERM). She sees this added role as vital to assuring regulatory compliance, protecting sensitive consumer data–and avoiding headlines. Toward that end, high on her agenda is installing ERM and "SARBOX sane" tools as part of a rigorous approach to identify and quantify risk, document processes and test key controls. Even though credit unions need not meet SOX standards, their risks and operations are similar to banks, she notes. "I enjoy driving change and this is a target-rich environment," McGlone says. "Implementing disciplines from the for-profit arena into this world is a challenge for me and hopefully growth for the industry."

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