Former Baxter Credit Union chief dies

Rex Johnson, the founder and former president and CEO of Baxter Credit Union in Vernon Hills, Ill., has died.

The $4.5 billion-asset credit union said in a press release that Johnson died on April 2. He was 77.

Johnson was part of the group that founded a credit union for Baxter International employees and their families in 1980. He led the merger between American Hospital Supply and Travenol Employees Credit Union that created Baxter Credit Union in 1981.

Under Johnson’s leadership, Baxter Credit Union became the fastest-growing credit union in Illinois, reaching $300 million of assets and 72,000 members in slightly more than a decade.

In 1994, Johnson founded Lending Solutions.

“I have always been so proud to say I worked for Rex Johnson,” said Mike Valentine, Baxter Credit Union’s current president and CEO.

“Following his lead as … CEO is something I’m extremely humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to do,” Valentine added. “No one taught me more about credit unions than Rex, a sentiment shared by many of us in the industry. That’s quite a legacy.”

To honor Johnson’s memory, Baxter Credit Union will create a $5,000 scholarship in his name. The credit union’s annual scholarship program reopens April 26.

The credit union also made a donation to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in Johnson’s honor.

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