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Operations chief to lead SAFE Federal Credit Union

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Michael Baker has been named president and CEO of SAFE Federal Credit Union based in Sumter, S.C.

Baker is currently the chief operations officer at the $1.1 billion-asset credit union. He’s worked at SAFE FCU for nearly 20 years in various leadership roles throughout the organization, including in branch management and administration. The credit union’s assets have more than doubled since he’s joined the senior leadership team.

Michael Baker, who will take over as CEO at SAFE FCU

“We are very pleased that Michael has accepted the president/CEO position,” Kay Oldhouser Davis, SAFE's chairman, said in a press release on Friday. “The board has great confidence in him.”

The board’s announcement goes into effect on May 2.

Baker succeeds Darrell Merkel, who has served as the credit union’s president and CEO since March 2017. Merkel retired as executive vice president from SAFE in 2014, but returned to take the helm three years later. After working at the credit union for 32 years, Merkel announced his intent to retire again from SAFE this summer. He will transition to interim COO while SAFE conducts its search for a permanent replacement.

The credit union's call report shows it earned $10.8 million last year, down 6% from 2018. SAFE serves over 126,000 members.

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