Credit union CEO found dead days after resigning

Nathan Baker • Updated Jan 11, 2019 at 9:16 PM

Days after resigning his position as CEO of Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, Ron Scott is dead.

Director of Communications and Community Relations Jeff Keeling said he and the rest of the credit union’s employees were notified Friday morning of their former executive’s death.

Keeling said he did not know any details of Scott’s death.

Washington County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Jeff Miller said the death was under investigation, and more information should be available next week.

“He was a very personable guy,” Keeling said of the man who hired him and became his friend. “I’m really sad and shocked, and I’m utilizing the work I have to do for the credit union to get through the day.”

Scott resigned from his post last weekend, and told the Press Wednesday he planned to move west to be closer to his wife, mother and mother-in-law.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, interim CEO Kelly Smith confirmed Scott’s stated motivations for leaving, as did an open letter posted Thursday on the credit union’s website signed by Board Chairman Royden Russell.

Asked Friday if Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union was the target of any audit, investigation or administrative sanctions by federal authorities, Keeling said he could not comment.

“Financial institutions are visited on a regular basis — and occasionally on an irregular basis — by any number of outside agencies. It’s a highly regulated industry,” he said. “It’s our policy not to comment on whether we are being visited by those outside agencies or whether we are not.”

In an email, spokesperson John Fairbanks of the National Credit Union Administration, the federal regulating authority for credit unions, declined to comment, because agency regulations keep information related to the examination, operation or condition of credit unions private.

Still in a state of shock, Keeling reminisced on the positive programs the credit union managed in the area over Scott’s 8-year tenure.

Keeling said Scott steered the institution toward community service, with programs to help moderate- and low-income families buy homes, to teach people methods to improve their credit scores and to offer financially sound alternatives to predatory lenders.

Scott also served on the Washington County Economic Development Council and helped transition that board into the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, which binds Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties in an effort to promote prosperity in the region.

In 2016, he ran for a seat on the Johnson City Board of Education, but was not elected.

“I’m devastated as a friend, and I’m sure I would speak for everyone at the credit union to hope that people would keep his family and his friends and all the people that he influenced in their prayers and their thoughts,” Keeling said.

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