Michelle Archibald has worked at Community First Federal Credit Union for half her life. As a part-time teller, she didn’t expect to pursue a career in finance.
Archibald stepped away from the credit union for a few weeks to attend Central Michigan University, but the credit union’s community focus soon drew her back.
Not long after returning, Archibald advanced from part-time teller to head teller, and then to branch manager, helping open two new locations.
Now she serves as the chief financial officer (CFO) for the Lakeview, Mich., credit union.
“She has an amazing drive to move our credit union forward,” says CEO Timothy Rasmussen.
In each position, Archibald has shown dedication and drive to uphold her credit union’s ideal of “community first,” starting from within the institution.
Her leadership style has always been one that adapts to meet the diverse needs of her staff, blending their varying styles and uniting the team toward a common goal.
“The ability to internally develop employees has provided me with a very rewarding career,” Archibald says. “I like coming to work every day.”
Under her direction as CFO, Community First Federal has grown from $59 million in assets in 2018 to $93 million today. Archibald credits this growth to the institution’s commitment to the community.
“Anything we set out to do, we evaluate if it’s a win for our membership, our staff, and the credit union overall,” she says. “If it’s not a win for everyone, then we need to look at other alternatives.”
This level of treatment for Community First Federal’s members required extra creativity during the pandemic.
One of the biggest challenges the credit union faced was helping a membership, which preferred in-person banking, learn to address its financial needs safely. This included providing education about online banking, switching to electronic loan signatures, and even demonstrating how to use the outside lane of the drive-thru.
Despite the challenges, it’s all worth it for Archibald. She has always loved working with her community and her career with Community First Federal enables her to do just that. As she prepares to become the credit union’s next CEO, she keeps her focus and commitment clear.
“Credit unions look out for their membership and their employees,” Archibald says. “That’s really what keeps me here.”