The incoming head of Maine’s trade group for credit unions said his top priority is to use advanced technology and data to save consumers money and help them make better financial decisions.

The Maine Credit Union League and its for-profit data processing affiliate Synergent have chosen Todd Mason to replace outgoing President and CEO John Murphy, who plans to retire this summer. Mason is a credit union industry veteran from Michigan with executive experience in that state’s credit union trade organization.

Mason’s current job is chief strategy officer for RouteOne, an indirect automotive lending technology company based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Before that, he worked for the Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates for 19 years, serving in a variety of roles including vice president of technology, education and marketing, and chief operating officer of the league’s CU Solutions Group. He also helped launch a cooperative venture called League InfoSight, where he served as its chief operating officer.

Mason said he plans to arrive in Maine in late April. It will be his first time living in the state. He said the Maine league and Synergent have an outstanding national reputation, particularly in the area of technology, which drew him to the job.

“There are some really interesting things going on around technology in the financial world,” Mason said. “Synergent is really at the core of that.”

Synergent is a for-profit subsidiary of the Maine league that provides data-processing services to credit unions. It also offers back-end services such as shared branching, statement processing, ATM, debit card, check processing and support services, along with data mining for marketing purposes.

Mason said the Maine league and Synergent seemed like a good fit because they share his desire to push credit union technology further without compromising the industry’s emphasis on personal interaction. He said an example of technology he would like to see implemented is the use of artificial intelligence to better connect credit union members with services they may need.

Mason said he also was impressed with the Maine league’s success at promoting credit unions in the state. His job will include leading the marketing, education and lobbying efforts for the industry.

“Maine is a very well-respected organization in the credit union system,” he said. “In Maine, we have some of the highest member penetration in the U.S.,” with over 50 percent of state residents belonging to a credit union.

In September, Murphy announced plans to retire in June after 25 years as head of the Maine Credit Union League and Synergent. He has held numerous positions during his 44-year career with the organizations and participated in the development of many products, services and programs for credit unions. Together, the league and Synergent employ 163 people.

“To me, it’s a very bittersweet position to be in,” Murphy said. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunities that I’ve had through my own career.”

The process of choosing Murphy’s replacement involved an extensive, six-month national search conducted by O’Rourke & Associates that first led to the selection of five finalists by a six-member search committee. Ultimately, the league’s board of directors chose Mason.

“We just felt that he was a good overall fit,” Murphy said.

Board Chairman and Connected CU CEO Rick Lachance said the board found Murphy to be the most aligned with the league’s values, culture and shared vision for its member organizations. His background in technology also was considered a major asset, Lachance said.

“His extensive leadership experience, with both a technology organization and working with innovative credit union trade association services, allows Todd to bring unique skills to our organizations,” he said. “Our board looks forward to the innovation and service commitment that he will bring to the credit unions we serve.”

Formed in 1938, the Maine Credit Union League’s membership comprises all 58 credit unions in Maine.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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Twitter: @jcraiganderson