Davina Napier is always looking for a Picasso.
“A ‘Picasso’ is that credit-challenged member for whom it may take some work to build a loan, but when it’s done properly, it’s a masterpiece,” says Napier, chief lending officer at $1.1 billion asset Credit Union 1 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Napier honed her artistic approach to lending through a 24-year career with Credit Union 1. Throughout her tenure, Napier has championed lending solutions for underserved members.
“Those are the members who really need us,” she says. “Magic happens when you take the time to hear their stories, fulfill their needs, and make their dreams come true.”
Member stories drive Napier’s innovations. In 2008, she designed a program to improve financial wellness for members with serious credit challenges.
During the 2018 government shutdown, she extended a lifeline to affected members with an emergency plan for loan extensions, no-interest loans, and even monetary gifts. One year later, every member who received a loan during the shutdown had repaid in full.
Napier also developed an award-winning indirect auto lending program that provides low-cost loans and addresses transportation challenges unique to the state.
“In Alaska, every member needs a vehicle to get to work,” she says. “In some of our remote villages, that might be a snow machine. We look at it differently based on the region the member lives in.”
With community needs in mind, Napier led the creation of the Uplifting Others Fund. For every consumer or real estate loan financed, the credit union donates to the fund, which gives local nonprofits access to direct assistance for a client whose food, health, or shelter is at risk.
“Funding often is needed to help somebody secure a down payment for a safe place to live or for medicine,” Napier says. “Credit Union 1 can bridge that gap.”
In both lending and community service, Napier’s prime motivation is assisting others on a large scale.
“It’s humbling seeing what our community members go through,” she says. “That humility keeps me grounded and thinking of new, creative ways to support the organization and our community.”