Raquel Juarez brings 20 years of experience and a diverse skill set to Arbor Financial Credit Union in Kalamazoo, Mich. The new senior commercial lender, who was hired this summer at the $850 million asset credit union, plans to use her life experience and Spanish fluency to aid underrepresented communities.
On a day-to-day basis, she will attain, grow, and manage business financing relationships.
Juarez recently spoke with CUNA News about her new role, the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, her passion for working with underrepresented business communities, and what she likes to do outside of work.
Raquel Juarez: I wanted to use my experience to help local businesses. Joining a financial institution that was locally focused, including decisions about business loans, was important to me.
Everyone here is so nice and willing to help each other, and invested in helping our local communities.
A: Commercial lending solutions for existing and startup businesses such as commercial real estate, acquisitions, equipment, vehicle financing, small business lines of credit, business credit cards, expansion, improvements, and Small Business Administration loans.
A: To me it is about the importance of ethnicity, culture, and representation.
My culture has shaped my values, personality, goals, and much more. It’s a reminder that representation is so important and can inspire younger generations to see themselves in roles that typically do not look like them.
A: I grew up seeing challenges my family faced due to language and cultural barriers. That inspired me to become a voice for underrepresented communities and use my experiences and knowledge to help others.
A: Learning their story—we all have a story and journey—and finding solutions that will help bring their business vision to life.
A: I can communicate and attract a larger market. It also allows me to create more trusting relationships with potential and existing clients.
Most importantly, it has allowed me to help so many people by translating and communicating important financial information so they can make decisions that are in their best interests.
A: Never stop learning, ask questions, speak up for others, and be willing to go the extra mile.
A: Spending time with family, crafting, and traveling to experience new ideas and cultures.