Tillery Durbin

The business of service

Tillery Durbin knows how to get things done. And she helps others along the way.

September 25, 2020

Tillery Durbin has had an eventful 2020 with local, regional, and national recognition of her service.

She was nominated for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Financial Services Advocate of the Year in North Florida, and was also nominated as one of the  Jacksonville Business Journal’s Women of Influence.

Durbin was also promoted in April to business services director at $550 million asset 121 Financial Credit Union, Jacksonville, Fla. Then the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic arrived, along with a crush of SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. That’s when the brutally long hours began.

Durbin went to work for not only the credit union’s business members, but customers at other area financial institutions. By late July, she had processed 493 PPP loans totaling $28.8 million that helped protect 4,113 jobs in the Jacksonville area.

Many larger financial institutions concentrated on larger firms in need of big-dollar loans, but 121 Financial targeted smaller businesses and aimed for volume. “We decided we were going to help as many people as we could,” Durbin says.

Because of nationwide demand, the SBA’s loan website was often slow or inaccessible. So, Durbin and others at 121 Financial worked day and night to enter information from business applicants.

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“I found the faster we could key them in, the fewer issues we’d have and the sooner we’d get these done,” she says.

During the height of the rush for PPP loans, Durbin and another employee keyed in 175 loans in one day. “I finally went to bed at 1 a.m. and was up at 4 a.m. to get back on the website before other lenders started coming back the next morning,” she says.

Between processing the loans and coming up with loan deferment plans, Durbin typically worked 13 to 16 hours a day processing PPP loans.

Early in the rush, 121 Financial served its members exclusively. But after the second round of loans, Durbin reached out to lenders at other financial institutions, chambers of commerce, and area accountants to take on nonmembers who hadn’t obtained PPP loans.

The experience has reinforced 121 Financial’s commitment to area businesses, Durbin says, and strengthened its status as a local business lender.

“It’s part of who we are” she says. “We focus on being Jacksonville’s hometown credit union and helping the community.”

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