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Knoxville Credit Union Leader Earns Outstanding Achievement Award at SRCUS

The Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) organization is pleased to announce that Chris Outland has been awarded the 2021 Hugh Watson award at this year’s session of the Southeast CUNA Management School. Selected by the vote of his classmates, Outland was chosen to receive this award based on his exceptional contributions to the class as a whole over the three years of SRCUS and his outstanding leadership skills.

Chris Outland currently serves as the President of 7 Title. 7 Title is a title company and Credit Union Services Organization (CUSO) jointly owned by ORNL Federal Credit Union & Y12 Federal Credit Union. Chris began his credit union career in 2013 as the Mortgage Processing Supervisor for 7 Mortgage, a wholly-owned CUSO of ORNL FCU. He took on the role of Title Manager of 7 Title in 2014, then transitioned into his current role of President in 2016. Prior to 2013, Chris spent over 20 years in the consumer finance industry, mostly in the role of Branch Manager where he gained valuable experience in all facets of managing a team and running a business. Chris was born, raised, and continues to live in Knoxville Tennessee, less than an hour’s drive from the Great Smoky Mountains. He enjoys spending time with his wife Ginger and his three children Jacob, Elijah, and Ella.

“SRCUS is a unique and dynamic opportunity to improve your skills as a leader and learn more about the credit union you work for, as well as the credit union industry in general,” noted Outland. “The curriculum is great, but what makes this school unique is the opportunity to meet and bond with other impressive credit union professionals. The friendships made turn into meaningful, lasting relationships. Additionally, SRCUS gives you many opportunities to put yourself into your ‘stretch zone’ where personal growth happens. I went into it telling myself ‘I’m just going to press forward and take advantage of everything this experience has to offer’ and I was paid back tenfold,” explained Outland.

Seven years ago, SRCUS instituted the “Hugh Watson Award” to recognize an outstanding third-year student and to honor the retirement of Hugh Watson from SRCUS. Watson joined the SRCUS faculty in 1971 and during his tenure, he taught in all 3 years, served as academic coordinator, and facilitated the 3rd year simulation for 43 years. Upon his retirement from SRCUS, the Hugh Watson Award was instituted to honor the 3rd year student whose service to SRCUS has been closest to that exemplified by Dr. Hugh Watson.

Since 1970, the SRCUS Southeast CUNA Management School has equipped graduates with the skills and knowledge to meet the leadership challenges that arise in the credit union industry. The curriculum develops students’ operational, managerial, and leadership abilities as they receive advanced academic instruction on a variety of topics including management, leadership, and financial analysis. Students also apply the knowledge gained from the on-site sessions to projects that require strategic analysis of their credit unions and research of relevant issues facing the credit union industry.

Graduation from the Southeast CUNA Management School is recognized throughout the credit union industry as a prestigious mark of achievement. Upon successful completion of the program, students received a graduation diploma issued in conjunction with the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education. For more information on the Southeast CUNA Management School, visit


Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) is a collaboration of seven southeastern credit union leagues, including the Carolinas Credit Union League, Kentucky Credit Union League, League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, Louisiana Credit Union League, Mississippi Credit Union Association, Tennessee Credit Union League, and Virginia Credit Union League. Through collaboration with CUNA and Affiliates, the first SRCUS Management School was established in 1970. In addition to the management school, SRCUS also hosts an annual Director’s Conference, which provides a full range of informative educational sessions about critical issues important to today’s ever-changing financial industry for credit union directors and committee members. For more information, visit


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