The need to connect—with family, residents who need financial services, and a community that feels like home—led Matt Duthler to Northland Area Federal Credit Union in Oscoda, Mich.
A Michigan native, Duthler began his career teaching art and computer skills to parochial school students in Chicago before becoming a graphic design instructor at a community college near Alpena, Mich.
He moved away and found success marketing office furniture to dealers nationwide.
But Duthler missed the family and friends he made in Alpena. So in 2017, he jumped at the chance to become marketing director for the $430 million asset credit union, which has a branch in Alpena and is currently building its future headquarters there.
Northland Area Federal’s staff T-shirt combines the credit union’s pine tree logo and name with “HOME,” which makes it a good fit for Duthler.
After two years working for a credit union, he feels at home teaching people about products that improve their financial health.
He relies on his “very optimistic” approach with a willingness to roll up his sleeves to work on projects that grow the credit union.
“At Northland, I’ve been reminded how much credit unions impact our communities, whether it’s helping a small business flourish or taking a risk so a member can secure a car loan for reliable transportation to get to work,” Duthler says.
Northland Area Federal’s Oscoda headquarters is located on the former site of Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Duthler and his co-workers planned a veterans’ appreciation event that included lunch at the local American Legion hall and a pinning ceremony for Vietnam War veterans.
Duthler brings outside-the-box ideas from other industries to serve the financial needs of Northland Area Federal’s small communities.
“That can mean taking risks,” he says. “But if you don’t take risks, you can’t expand into new opportunities.”
As a relative newcomer, he appreciates credit unions’ willingness to share information about initiatives he can adapt to suit Northland Area Federal.
Duthler and his family often spend time on nearby Lake Huron. Having a Great Lake at his doorstep keeps Duthler close to home and close to the credit union’s members, which is where he wants to be.
“I get to see how much we’re impacting members here.”