Genesis of the Association of FDIC Alumni (AFDICA)

By Gregory Coyle

Throughout the years, there have been tens of thousands of people that have worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Resolution Trust Corporation.  Many of our former colleagues have worked in more than one office, others in more than one division, and some have worked through the opening, closing or merging of FDIC offices.  An outcome of this business evolution was the wide geographic relocation of former FDIC employees throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

All of us have heard stories about groups of FDIC alumni who stay in contact with each other through organized breakfasts, golf outings or other social events. In fact, a recent article appeared in the FDIC NEWS about a small group of former FDIC employees in Atlanta who for many years, have continued to get together monthly to celebrate friendships that originated by virtue of their common employment history.  For this group and others like them around the country, we salute you for recognizing that such gatherings enrich your lives through friendship and fellowship.

One of the largest gatherings of FDIC alumni that we are aware of occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana in October 2013. The primary organizers were Nick Ketcha and John Stone.  After discussing their desire to get former colleagues together for an FDIC alumni event in the fall of 2012, Nick and John began to reach out to several trusted FDIC alumni for organizational assistance.  They enlisted the support of Bill Kroener, Jim Devaney, Jim Thornton, Jim Kielczewski and Jim Brenner and asked them to participate in organizing the event and getting the word out about an FDIC alumni reunion being planned for October 2013.

Approximately 120 people, consisting of FDIC alumni and their spouses from multiple cities across the country travelled to the City of New Orleans for four days of sightseeing, boat rides, organized dinners, golfing, shopping and social activities at a local pub.

The response to this fellowship event was very positive and as the party concluded, many of those in attendance expressed their desire to attend future alumni events. Despite good intentions to organize another social event in 2014, a follow up to the New Orleans party was never planned. However, within 24-months of the New Orleans alumni party, new conversations about the formation of an Alumni Association between some who attended the event and FDIC leadership officials began to develop.      

At the beginning of the “Great Recession” the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation could see that the number of employees at the agency did not match the anticipated workload of what would be needed to successfully carry out the agency’s mission.  In early 2008, the FDIC began to connect with its retirees through “word-of-mouth” to ask if they would like to return to full time employment in various divisions and offices throughout the country. The FDIC did not have a centralized database with contact information on those that retired from the agency. This slowed the process of making connections with retirees.  With urgent need for skilled associates, it made good business sense to obtain OPM approval to extend employment opportunities to retirees.  After OPM approval was granted, over 200 FDIC retirees from around the nation came back to work on a full time basis to aid the FDIC during the financial crises of 2008 to 2011. 

As the nation’s economy began to heal, strategic planners at the FDIC began to ask themselves: “What if” this happened again? " "Would we be ready?" One thing was certain….. having a dependable line of communication to an organized group of FDIC alumni could speed up the process of identifying those experienced retirees and former employees who would be willing to return to assist the FDIC in the event of another economic crises.

In the fall of 2015, former DRR Deputy Director Ron Bieker (who retired in 2011) contacted DRR Division Director Bret Edwards and invited him to have coffee the next time he visited Dallas, Texas.  Shortly thereafter, Bret and Ron met in Dallas and it was during that meeting that they first discussed the need for a formal, organized FDIC Alumni Association. It was clear to both that the mammoth undertaking would take considerable time, effort and expense but the benefits of such an organization would be not only to assist the agency in fulfilling a strategic objective but also, to provide a way for FDIC alumni across the country to reconnect with former colleagues.

In December 2015, Ron Bieker and Mitchell Glassman, former DRR Division Director (who retired in 2010) had a telephone conversation to discuss the mechanics of how such an organization could be formed. This conversation led to the creation of a long list of things that would need to be accomplished in order to formally create an Alumni Association.  In January 2016, Mitchell contacted Barbara Ryan, Deputy to the Vice-Chairman to inquire about the level of interest that FDIC may have in supporting the creation of an Alumni Association, a milestone lacking in FDIC’s 82-year-old history. Barbara Ryan indicated to Mitchell that the FDIC had a strategic human capital initiative to do outreach to its retirees and former employees but the recent financial crises interrupted the progress. A short time later, Mitchell Glassman met  with Barbara Ryan and a senior leadership team to discuss the numerous benefits to the FDIC and the alumni. Chairman Gruenberg gave his support to the organizational efforts and arranged to designate someone at the agency to be the primary conduit between the FDIC and the organizers.  Mr. Stuart Levy was named as the agency liaison and shortly thereafter, a “Steering Committee” was formed at FDIC to provide guidance and counsel with respect to creation of the organizations By-Laws and a Joint Memorandum of Understanding. 

In the weeks that followed, a team consisting of Mitchell Glassman, Ron Bieker, Bill Kroener, Nick Ketcha, Fred Selby, Judith Friedman, Rob Schoppe, Gregory Coyle, Blake Clemons, Kathleen Tesi, Rickey McCullough, Sandy Warren, Lloyd Brown and Ned Goldberg was formed.  Conference calls were held weekly and a long list of project assignments were successfully accomplished.  Each person brought their unique skill-sets to the table to accomplish a myriad of tasks, culminating on November 9, 2016 when AFDICA became recognized as a 501(c)(3) corporation in the State of Delaware.

All expenses associated with purchase of domain names, a graphics artist to create the official trademarked logo, a web host provider, filing fees, legal document preparation, travel and other miscellaneous costs were either donated or paid out-of-pocket by the organizing committee members.

The mission of the AFDICA is based upon Fellowship, Education and Charity. The By-Laws of the AFDICA, which support the mission, are written as a living document that will be revised as the organization grows, matures and circumstances change.

It is our hope and sincere desire that you, the hard working men and women who contributed to the FDIC, will now turn your attention to growing and supporting the Association of FDIC Alumni (AFDICA) by helping it to become the premier government alumni organization by which all others are measured.