Three words describe James Davidson’s approach to his job and his passion in life.
“I’m a teacher,” declares the financial literacy program manager at Financial Center First Credit Union in Indianapolis.
“No one believes in the power of education as much as James,” says Dusty Simmons, vice president of membership development at the $536 million asset credit union. “Since 2009, he has taken Financial Center’s brand promise to ‘improve the financial lives of its members’ to the streets of Indianapolis—creating a unique and award-winning market position for the credit union.”
In fact, the credit union has placed in CUNA’s National Desjardins Adult Financial Education Awards for three straight years, including two first-place honors.
Davidson serves as the face of the credit union in the community, a role that extends beyond the 9-to-5 routine. He works many evenings and weekends to meet the needs of the members he educates—more than 1,650 in 2016 alone. By extension, Davidson created nearly 100 business opportunities last year.
Davidson worked with Spanish-speaking credit union staff to connect with the Latino population, and he’s bringing Financial Center’s educational curriculum to new platforms in 2017.
To reach more millennials, Davidson is developing an online education tool that delivers short videos and quizzes to those who prefer not to spend their Saturday mornings at the credit union. The tool is an essential piece of the credit union’s digital strategy, which aims to provide a more comprehensive and consistent online experience.
Davidson’s love for teaching is rooted in spending 12 years teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools system before he moved to the credit union. “I loved every minute of it,” he says.
One day, his wife saw an ad for an educational position at Financial Center, which was opening a student branch at the high school where he taught.
“It was a good fit because I still got to be around students,” Davidson says. “That position blossomed from teaching students to teaching everyone in the community. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Davidson’s passion for teaching is matched by his need for serving others. “My father has always been a hard worker who always put his family first,” he says. “For me it’s built on that, not just my family, but also the community. We are the community that we decide to build.”