When Amanda Habansky started her credit union career seven years ago, she quickly realized her passion for helping people and set her sights on doing just that, with fast and furious accomplishments since. An innovative mind is one quality that allows the senior vice president of retail at Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union to bring consistent loan growth above peer groups the past three years.
The $70 million asset credit union in Petersburg, Va., serves 8,500 members, many of them low-income and barely living paycheck to paycheck. “We help individuals find financial success, whatever that means to them,” Habansky says.
Habansky takes an idea, no matter how far-fetched or disruptive, and builds a strong case for action. Management consistently allows her a seat at the table and empowers her to think beyond the norm.
She researches the credit union’s market, talks with employees about members’ challenges, and maximizes team efforts to offer customized programs such as Payday Certificates and Reliable Rides.
“My ideas are not necessarily the greatest,” she says. “Teamwork is critical.”
Launched in 2017, the Payday Certificate program already has 283 participants. Members qualifying for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program receive free tax preparation. They deposit at least $500 of their refund into a certificate that pays out every three, six, nine, and 12 months. This allows members to maximize their refund and combat income volatility, which is a struggle for many.
Reliable Rides brought in 65 new auto loans since beginning last year. “Many members have job stability but not necessarily credit stability. They need transportation to get to work,” Habansky says. “Instead of making large down payments or falling into a high-rate predatory loan elsewhere, our Reliable Rides program provides reliable transportation.”
Qualified members must attend a two-hour class on maintaining an auto and maximizing their credit score. This empowers and educates them to handle the responsibilities that come with a loan.
Habansky’s passion shows through because “I love what I do.”