CEO Spotlight: James Higgins

jhWhen James accepted the CEO position at Skyline Financial Federal Credit Union a little over two years ago, he knew it was where he needed to be. Following his life's passions, he saw the opportunity to lead an organization with intent and purpose in the community. James "stumbled" into the world of credit unions while originally working for Fiserv selling merchant services, where he was partnered to work with a $26B regional bank. After working for Fiserv for a few years, the bank hired him to manage their main office. Managing the local branch gave James the exposure and opportunity to become immersed in the community. Community involvement and volunteering in Waterbury led FD Community FCU to offer him the position of Chief Operating Officer. This was the first time James had direct involvement with a credit union, and he immediately knew this was exactly where he needed to be.

Flash forward almost four years to 2021, and James accepted the position of President and CEO of Skyline Financial FCU at the age of 33, becoming Connecticut's youngest CEO for banks and credit unions. His core values are integrity, commitment, and leadership. When not working, James follows his passion of working with organizations such as the Exchange Club of Waterbury, which is primarily focused on preventing child abuse, foster and adoptive care where James has housed 21 children and counting over the years, financial well-being for all, and last but not least civic duty involvement with Board of Financial for the Borough of Naugatuck, Former Commission of the Finance and Audit Review board for the city of Waterbury, volunteer led originations such as Exchange Club of Waterbury, Waterbury Young Professionals, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Waterbury, Main Street Waterbury, Naugatuck Youth Services, and more!

Strategically, Skyline makes sure to donate to organizations that are either entirely volunteer or have no administrative overhead, which allows for a greater financial impact. Skyline would rather be the sponsor on the Little League t-shirt than a logo in a program guide any day of the week, allowing Skyline to have a direct impact on the success of these volunteer organizations. So often, small community organizations struggle to get funding, but James' commitment as CEO helps ensure that local organizations will succeed. Recently, Skyline has supported the sports leagues at Crosby High School in Waterbury and Naugatuck High School. In addition, James has led financial literacy discussions for small groups of 8 children up to large groups of 180 children in various presentations throughout Waterbury, Naugatuck, and Clinton high schools. As a community credit union, it is of utmost importance to be involved at a grassroots level in its community.

James's belief in active community engagement and a dedicated team aligns well with the values and principles that credit unions are often built upon. Skyline is focused on serving its members and communities. Having a strong team that is committed to doing the right thing and actively brainstorming ideas to benefit the membership is crucial for a credit union's success. Any team member of Skyline is helping one member at a time on their financial journey of life.

Want to be featured in an upcoming CEO Spotlight? Contact Katherine D'Orvilliers at