Chief Technology Officer at REV Federal Credit Union
“I wanted to be a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) the moment I graduated from college”, says REV Federal Credit Union CTO Zac Streelman.
Intending to become a CTO by 40, Streelman is happy to have achieved that aim, even if he did “miss it by a couple of years” when he took the post at REV at age 42.
With his dream job in the bag, Streelman’s focus is “very much looking forward to the future of REV”.
“My role is to champion continuous investment in resources to keep us relevant,” adds Streelman. “There are about 5,000 credit unions in the US and lots more around the world. We don't just want to be a credit union on the corner. We want to be a key part of this community and promote financial stewardship and wellness here.”
Streelman is integral to REV’s aims of achieving relevancy, leveraging emerging technologies (fintechs) to keep REV at the forefront of innovation. “It's about looking at consumer habits and what is trending,” says Streelman.
“If the market is trending towards a digital experience, then we should be able to provide one.
“I can say for certain that the next generation is not looking at us because of our branch network. They're looking at us because of our digital offerings and they want something that stands out. So it’s my job to make sure we do that.”
Fueled by the belief that ‘what you do matters, but how you do it matters more’, Streelman looks for integrity, passion, ambition, and humility as the four key essentials in his team.
Determined to see REV expand its reach to better serve its communities, how did Streelman follow his post-college dream to land the post of CTO at REV Federal Credit Union?
The making of Streelman the CTO
If one thing’s for certain, his path to REV and the finance industry was anything but orthodox. Although he knew he wanted to be a CTO, Streelman wasn’t sure what career path would take him there.
It is no wonder then that Streelman had “12 different roles in nine different industries” throughout his career. These included positions in the insurance, software, and manufacturing industries. Streelman was even a computer science teacher at a Hollywood-based prep school.
And, despite the fact he was laid off three times during the dot com crash of the early 2000s, Streelman feels he has been “really fortunate to have gotten a wide range of exposures to different environments, industries, and technologies”.
Streelman adds: “I have always been a technologist. I got my first computer for Christmas in 1990, and by January I had it taken apart and put back together again, which gave me a passion for tinkering and building PCs. Here I am 20+ years later.”
While the credit union space wasn’t an industry Streelman particularly envisaged he would enter upon graduating college, he has now found that “credit unions align with my personal value system and it allows me to take care of my family. It's a very stable environment.”
Streelman: The CTO with a unique perspective
Experience across multiple industries has perhaps enabled Streelman to enter the credit union space with a broader perspective than most.
As REV’s CTO puts it: “When you understand the perspective outside the four walls of your own organisation, it gives you just a different lens that you view the world through.”
It is this unique lens with which Streelman hopes to take REV forward.
“Traditionally, credit unions have been slow to adopt new technologies or have been behind the curve in some ways,” Streelman notes. “But I've come from SaaS companies where I got to understand how the cloud works and how virtualisation works.
“I understand how those technologies can be leveraged to drive significant innovation and adoption within the credit union space.
“If you look at where we are today, with the AI boom and burgeoning fintech ecosystems, those areas play well in a credit union environment. That’s what we’re starting to take note of and act upon now.”
Read the full story HERE.
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