The art of lending | 2020-01-28 2020


Davina Napier is always on the lookout for a Picasso.

“A ‘Picasso’ is the at-risk member that takes some work to build a loan for, but if done right it’s a masterpiece,” said Napier, chief lending officer with $ 1.1 billion in assets -Dollar Credit Union 1 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Napier has honed her artistic approach to lending through a 24-year career with Credit Union 1. Throughout her tenure, Napier has advocated credit solutions for underserved members.

“These are the members who really need us,” she says. “Magic comes from taking the time to hear their stories, meet their needs, and make their dreams come true.”

Membership stories drive Napier’s innovation. In 2008, she designed a program to improve the financial health of members with serious credit problems.

During the government shutdown in 2018, it expanded affected members with a contingency plan for loan extensions, interest-free loans, and even cash gifts. A year later, any member who received a loan during the shutdown had repaid in full.

Napier has also developed an award-winning indirect car loan program that provides low-cost credit and addresses country-specific transportation challenges.

“It’s humbling to see what our community members are going through.”

Davina Napier

“In Alaska, every member needs a vehicle to get to work,” she says. “In some of our remote villages that could be a snow machine. We view this differently depending on the region in which the member lives. ”

With the needs of the community in mind, Napier directed the creation of the Fund for the Advancement of Others. For every consumer or real estate loan financed, the credit union donates to the fund, which gives local nonprofits access to direct aid to a customer whose food, health or shelter is at risk but it is very simple.

“Funds are often needed to help someone get a down payment for a safe place to live or for medication,” says Napier. “Credit Union 1 can fill this gap.”

In both lending and community service, Napier’s main motivation is to help others on a large scale.

“It’s humbling to see what our parishioners are going through,” she says. “This humility keeps me on the ground and thinking about new, creative ways to support the organization and our community.”

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