The credit union industry mourns the passing of Rex Johnson, who founded Baxter Credit Union and Lending Solutions Inc.
Johnson passed away peacefully on April 2, surrounded by his loving family. He was 77, BCU said in a statement on Monday.
“I have always been so proud to say that I worked for Rex Johnson,” said Mike Valentine, President and CEO of Baxter Credit Union. “Following his example as CEO of BCU is something that I am extremely touched and honored to have had the opportunity to do. No one has taught me better about credit unions than Rex, a sentiment shared by many of us in the industry. It’s quite a legacy.
In 1980, Johnson led the merger between American Hospital Supply and Travenol Employees Credit Unions, which was approved as Baxter Credit Union in 1981.
Under his leadership, BCU grew into one of Illinois’ fastest growing credit unions, reaching $ 300 million in assets and 72,000 members in just over a decade. Today, the BCU, based in Vernon Hills, Ill., Manages $ 4.4 billion in assets and serves nearly 300,000 members.
In 1994 Johnson founded Loan Solutions Inc. in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
Additionally, Johnson is the author of four bestselling books and loaner videos, according to LSI.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Illinois Credit Union Hall of Fame and the CUES Hall of Fame.
He also received the prestigious Phil Greer Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA in 2017.
“Rex’s message was simple – ‘Help people by’ seeing what no one else sees’ – his Patch Adams movie mantra,” LSI said in his prepared statement.
In December 2018, LSCI hosted a celebration of Loan University, Rex’s flagship training school, in Las Vegas to commemorate his retirement. The school featured keynote speaker Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams, the physician and social activist on which the movie “Patch Adams” is based.
“My dad changed the way credit unions lend and interact with their members. His tireless efforts over 40 years to promote active members and fill credit unions with passion has also changed the way they do business, ”said Lorrie Wohlfeil, COO at LSCI. “His message of ‘see what no one else sees’ will continue to steer the credit union movement to a better place. We couldn’t be more motivated to continue to grow his legacy. “
Connie Johnson, Rex’s wife of 55 years, their children, as well as LSCI employees have said they are determined to build on Rex’s message.
True to form, Johnson continued to fight until the very end. His passion in his later years was to make sure that no one else suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, by donating his brain to help scientists find a cure for this terrible disease, according to the LSCI.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer Cure Fund at curealz.org.