It’s with extreme sadness that we are sharing with you today that Fred Laing, former President and CEO of UMACHA, passed away suddenly at his home on Wednesday, November 27th.
As you know, Fred retired from UMACHA on September 1st of this year after 35 years of dedicated service. He began his electronic payments career in 1980 at Norwest Bank, now Wells Fargo shortly after graduating from Moorhead State College with a B.A. in Economics. In 1984, he became our Executive Director and successfully grew and led UMACHA to become the strong organization it is today. When he joined UMACHA there were only two employees and with his vision, enthusiasm and hard work, he grew UMACHA to 14 employees, over 700 members and a breadth of electronic payments education and compliance services. UMACHA’s success is wholly due to Fred’s leadership.
Fred was born in Coronado, CA and attended high school in Hopkins, MN. He met and married the love of his life Lynne and together they raised four sons. Fred enjoyed coaching his sons in soccer and did so for many years.
His memory will be kept alive and cherished by his loving wife Lynne of 46 years and four sons; Brandon (Melanie, Kaelan & Elora), Brody (Samantha, Rayna & Keegan) Bryce (Marissa, Ethan, Vienne, Cameron, & Kyla) and Braden (Carrie, Adalynne & Emery), his brothers Terry (Susan) & Scot (Diane) and sister Holly and their families.
Fred lived a positive and upbeat life day in and day out. He loved his work, all aspects of his home life and willingly shared that joy with all of us. He will be remembered as our ACH expert, for his humor, warmth, great relationships with our team and our members, as well as his fun costumes at Navigating Payments. Fred was the life of the party and made sure that when you came to UMACHA you felt welcome, appreciated and like a guest in his home. He touched the lives of the thousands who knew him, including financial institution leaders across the country.
Fred will truly be missed by all and the legacy he left with us will never be forgotten.
To read his full obituary please click here.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the American Cancer Society or please consider a donation in his memory to a charity of your choice.
Please email your reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred will fondly be remembered for his ability to present not so exciting information in a fun and positive way. He was upbeat and worked so hard for UMACHA and was the biggest ACH Education Cheerleader. I will miss his antics and knowledge at the Navigating Payments Conference. Deanne Rentsch, AAP, NCP (ReliaBank)
I did not have a lot of contact with Fred but remember early on when I first heard him speak, maybe 25 years ago, I was so favorably impressed by his knowledge, clarity of thought, an easy manner. From that time on I had full confidence in what he had to say. When his retirement was announced I thought what a great loss to the banking community. My sincerest sympathies to family and friends. Bob Meyerson (Harvest Bank)
Fred and I worked together at Northwestern National Bank, Norwest and now Wells Fargo. We were both product managers in Cash Management, he of course for the ACH services offered by the bank at that time. During that time I had the “privilege” of sharing a desk with Fred, actually our desks faced each other with NO Privacy! I remember he was the first to know I was pregnant, even before my husband! I think of the many times we shared both at work and as friends outside of work. Lynne pitched in to take care of my young daughter when I was in between baby sitters, we both had horses living in the north metro area and shared several Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties together. We watched and shared stories as our kids grew up to have families of their own. Fred talked me into becoming a UMACHA board member representing the OFDI’s. I learned a lot about ACH from Fred since he was a great teacher! I remember spending many conferences with Fred and Lynne (was there really a roof to that bar we were at in Atlanta?). I will cherish the memories of him and his family and am thankful that he was a part of my life! My condolences to Lynne, her boys and grandchildren. Diane Fischer (Northeast Bank)
Thoughts and Prayers to the Family & Friends of Fred Laing. As a participant of many Annual UMACHA trainings, Fred always had a smile on his face. His enthusiasm and knowledge will be greatly missed. Julie Johnson (Bank Forward)
I am so sorry to hear this. Fred was a great guy and so easy to work with. He will be missed. Kim Duitsman (Choice Bank)
So, so sorry to hear of Fred's passing. He was a dear friend to me and so many others. Even an old check guy he helped convert with his knowledge, experience, persistence and patience. I loved working with the guy, loved spending time with him and Lynne, and always valued his tempered assistance when factors beyond our control seemed capable of tearing us away from the main mission. We will miss him but treasure the years and times we shared. Ian & Kelly Macoy (Bluemont, VA)
Such a beautiful tribute to Fred. A sad journey has begun for his family, his UMACHA family and friends. Keeping all of you in my prayers. Del Mari Runck (Neighborhood National Bank)
I had the pleasure of working with Fred as a banker and a consultant over the last 20+ years. He was an amazing fountain of information and quick with a fun story. Fred had met and worked with countless people yet he never forgot a name and was always ready with that brilliant smile and a warm hug. My condolences go out to his wife and family as well as his work family. It was an honor to have known Fred, he will be missed. Michelle Walstad (Sunrise Banks)
Fred’s kindness, smile and positivity will truly be missed. While he had a TON of friends and contacts, he had a way of making everyone feel special in the way that he greeted and visited with us. His knowledge and passion for his career in the payments industry was very evident, and he was highly respected (and rightfully so) by everyone he worked with. He was definitely “one of a kind” and I will miss him. Katie Kennett (First PREMIER Bank)
I will always remember Fred as a guy who knew you by name, even if you were in a room with hundreds of other people. He was one of a kind and will surely be missed by many. So sad to hear of this news. Kathy Johnson (First National Bank of Coleraine)
I had the pleasure of working with Fred many times over the years. When I was taking my AAP Exam in 2014 he was incredibly encouraging. He was truly a wonderful man who was happy to share his vast knowledge with all of us. I always knew if I emailed or called with a question I would get the answers I was looking for. Cheri Rothering, AAP (WNB Financial)
I had my first “Fred Experience” 25+ years ago. I was a young operations person just getting started in this thing called “payments” and he absolutely WOWed me. I left that session so inspired - certainly if a person could be that passionate about something as seemingly mundane as payments I needed to learn more! His passion and enthusiasm for the field was unmatchable. His sense of humor and his sensible approach to complex payment issues always was on-target. I looked forward to UMACHA events so Fred and I could “catch up” for a few minutes. His memory and legacy will live on through his work and the many, many people whose lives he touched in myriad ways. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family and his extended payments family – he will be deeply missed. Pam Carl (MidCountry Bank)
Fred showered the payments community with his leadership, knowledge and enthusiasm. We worked together on many initiatives over the past 35 years, starting with the formation of the Internet Council and many councils, meetings task forces and initiatives since then. Lynne was by his side for many of these business trips, and they were both a big part of the extended Nacha family. At a conference a few years ago, they (along with others…you know who you are!) bought new cowboy boots, and I snapped a shot of the results of their shopping trip. I also took a picture of Fred’s name badge at the NACHA conference, as I was struck with the number of ribbons – this was an understatement of Fred’s active membership and leadership. My deep condolences to Lynne, the entire Laing family who Fred spoke of often, the UMACHA team, and all of the payments professionals who join me in grieving such a kind and wonderful man. Fred, we miss you dearly! Rest in peace, my friend. Jane Wallace (Wallace Consulting)
When I first saw that Fred had passed away – I was like NO, this can’t be true. I met Fred while working for WACHA over 20 years ago and he was an amazing man, husband, father, grandfather and I am sending prayers to his family and friends. I loved spending time with Fred and Lynne at the many conferences over the years and know how much he was loved by Lynne and his family just from our conversations. I keep hoping I will wake up and this is not true – it teaches us all to live for today and take care of you. Hugs. Kim Bruck, AAP (Desert Financial Credit Union)
I have many fond memories of Fred from the years I represented the US Treasury to UMACHA and the entire payments community. He was always a friendly face in whatever audience I was presenting to and someone I looked forward to catching up with at the numerous payments events we attended. A true gentleman. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Walt Henderson (Alexandria, VA)
My time with Fred over the years, as is the case for many, was limited to industry events, but he was one of the few people I would immediately seek out. His warmness and wisdom was calming, and his chillness envied. We will miss you dearly Fred. Jon Budd (Juniper Payments)
Many years ago in my early days of Banking I had the opportunity to have Fred as an instructor in one of my early ACH Classes. He truly gave me the passion to continue to develop my banking knowledge over the years. I served on the UMACHA Board with Fred and most recently with the FRPA Board. He was one of the most kind hearted, caring and wonderful person I have known in my many years of Banking. He always had a smile or motivating comment whenever and where ever our paths have crossed throughout the years. He will be sadly missed in the payments community, but I can truly say he was one of the people that shaped the landscape of where we are headed. RIP my dear Fred. Kathy Jeanson (Lake Elmo Bank)
Some of my fondest memories when attending the Navigating Payments conference over the years are Fred’s antics and seeing what his costume would be each year. He always had a way of relating his costume to what was happening in the payments world. He had a such a fabulous way of making payments fun and interesting while getting us thinking about how it would affect our organization. I will never forget the tone of his voice as he presented and the way he could capture everyone’s attention. He was so personable and always made people feel significant. I recall how willing Fred was to make a trip to Fargo when I asked if someone from UMACHA would be available to present to our Fiserv User Group remotely regarding Same Day ACH. He said “I’ll just drive down for the day and present it myself!” Forever in our hearts!! Sincerest condolences to Fred’s family and UMACHA staff. Judy Stroh, AAP (Vision Bank)
I could not even tell you when I first had contact with Fred Laing it was several years ago. He impressed me with his knowledge then and has continued to do so. He would take the time to answer any question I ever had and I had a few! He was extremely knowledgeable, kind and always had a smile. I was so happy to hear of his retirement for all his dedication for so many years and to now hear of his passing it just isn’t fair! He has touched so many who work with Fraud. My heart goes out to his family – their loss is shared. Pauline Sager (Criminal Investigations Unit/Eden Prairie Police Department)
I met Fred back in the 70’s when he was a teller supervisor at NWNB. Early memories of him include horseback riding and fishing at the family farm, hunting grouse in the woods north of the house in St Francis, helping him and Lynne move into their apartment at Medicine Lake, his excitement about buying a red 1973 Audi Fox… How fortunate for the banking community that he went on to become Mr. ACH for UMACHA where he could impact so many people with his enthusiasm and passion for electronic payments. He will be missed. Condolences to Lynne and family. Steve Stormoen
My sincere condolences to Fred's family. Fred's leadership and payments knowledge were the very best! Attending a conference or a class with him inspired passion and success for our work. He'll be most remembered for his genuine friendships. Carol Schaubach (MoneyGram – Retired)
Very sorry to hear the news of Fred’s passing. He will be missed by many, certainly for his work accomplishments but also for his friendship, generosity and graciousness. Our friendship goes back to the 1980’s when I first began working with Fred on the UMACHA Board. Since then we always found time to get together both at industry events and socially to share work news but also stories about our families, kids growing up, grandkids arriving and other life events. Safe to say we will all have fond memories of Fred! Doug Berg (Wells Fargo)
I was extremely sad to hear about the passing of Fred Laing. I met Fred many years ago when starting my career in Treasury. He was so friendly and helpful to me and was a wonderful mentor. He made a great impression on me and I remember thinking that if I could work with more people like him during my career, I would enjoy my work for many years to come. His smile was contagious and so was his kindness. Please pass along my condolences to his family and let them know how much the Treasury community will miss him. He was a great man! Penny Hestad (Holiday Stationstores, LLC)
Bead Picture – we were attending Nacha’s Electronic Check Council meetings in New Orleans. Our hotel just happened to be right on the parade route a week before Mardi Gras when all of the parades are happening. We were informed that if we jumped up and down and said we were from out of town we’d get tons of beads thrown our way. It worked! LOL. A fond memory of having fun with Fred. Debbie Smart, CTP, NCP (Q2)
I have known Fred for over 20 years. We worked together for several years on the MBA Operations/Technology Committee and Fred was more than a professional. His expertise reached far beyond UMACHA. He was always well-studied and his speaking talent reached every person in every audience. Fred went beyond the professional and became a friend to the banking industry and many bankers, myself included. We talked about many things, from ACH to bank operations to fraud and beyond, even to one of the loves of his life – horses. Fred lived with passion. He was one of few individuals with the ability to see the forest and the trees. I thank the Lord I was blessed to know him. My thoughts and prayers to all of his family and friends. Brian Rykhus (Community Resource Bank)
I am so sorry to hear of Fred’s death. I will always remember Fred as a sincere person. Even though he could get all of us laughing at our annual conference you could tell how passionate he was about his work life and personal life. He always had a smile for everyone. Constance Meredith, AAP (Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union)
He was a gem. I will miss him always. Heidi Deeton
When I think about my days doing training for the RPAs, Fred is always one of the first to come to mind. Back when I was preparing for my AAP in 2009, I can clearly remember his File Format session at TPI and how he made it so much easier to understand. From that day on, attending Fred’s File Format session was a “must attend” for any employees we sent to TPI. ? Fred was just one of those people that had a way of making everyone in his presence feel like they belonged, always with a bright smile and a hug. Fred has left behind quite a legacy as one of the great RPA legends who will be forever missed. Sending sincere sympathies to his family, work family, and friends. Lisa Andre (US Treasury Department / Fiscal Service)
Fred was a powerful light in so many ways and the beauty of Fred will be, he lives on in so many memories, people and in so many other ways by how he lived and how he treated and worked with people in so many facets of day to day life. Casey Wilcox
Fred will be dearly missed by those he touched during his all-too-short lifetime. He was knowledgeable, a great communicator, leader and mentor. Everyone who met Fred loved him because of his engaging personality and caring persona. I had the privilege of representing TCF Bank on Fred’s UMACHA Board for a number of years, and it was an experience I treasured and will never forget. My deepest sympathies are extended to Lynne, his sons and extended family. I will think of Fred often in the years ahead, and for sure — every time I pick up a snow shovel! RIP my friend. Ron Britz (TCF Bank Retiree)
I had the joy of working with Fred over 20 years ago and kept in touch even when I left the payments industry - that's the kind of guy Fred was. He built relationships, was genuine and was very well respected. I learned a lot from Fred, to be compassionate to everyone, to not judge, and truly live your life and realize how blessed you were for what you have. Every time I saw Fred, he always put a smile on my face and could light up a room which I am sure all of you could relate to! Especially in his seemingly funny attire! Fred will be missed and all I can say is that God got another Angel. Fred will always be remembered. My sincere condolences to Fred's family and the UMACHA family for their loss. Michelle Kocur
I’ve known Fred since the early days of UMACHA when he and Norma were the only ones there. I learned a lot from Fred over the years. You could always count on Fred, no matter what. I am reminded of a song by Mary McCaslin -Old Friends – This is the last verse of that song: “Lately word’s been coming back to me, there are a few I will no long see. Their faces we will see no more along the road. there’ll be a few less hands to hold. But for the ones whose journey’s ended, though they started so much the same, in the hearts of those befriended burns a candle with a silver flame. Remember old friends we’ve made along the way, the gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.” There are many silver flames burning for Fred. He will be missed. Jo Cross, AAP (US Bank)
Fred was dedicated to Lynne and family, and a loyal and trusted friend to all of us in the payments community. Having worked with Fred while he was CEO of UMACHA, he demonstrated his leadership and zeal for continuing to develop and improve ACH and check services. He was involved with many NACHA committees and councils and was on the NACHA Board of Directors, including its executive committee. He was a superb educator, always ready to share his talent for explaining how the payment systems work. He was also a leader among his Regional Payments Association peers and was elected chairman of the Association Executives group. Such a truly great person and a great loss to all that knew him. My wife Lynn and I offer our condolences to Lynne and her family. Pete Yeatrakas (Retired WesPay CEO)
When I first read that Fred had passed away, my heart sank. What an amazing person he was. So knowledgeable, full of life, and genuinely a good guy. He always made everyone feel welcome...like a part of his family. The fact that so many people were positively touched by Fred’s infectious personality, speaks volumes about the type of person he was. He will be missed by so many. My deepest sympathies to his family. God Bless! Shelly Eilers, AAP (First Dakota National Bank)