Credit Union Rock Stars Tillery Durbin and Amber Rahn discuss COVID relief
Tillery Durbin (left) and Amber Rahn

PODCAST: Meeting the COVID-19 challenge

Credit Union Rock Stars Tillery Durbin and Amber Rahn watch out for members and staff.

October 15, 2020

As difficult and devastating as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been, it’s also brought out the best in many credit union leaders. 

Take Tillery Durbin of $588 million asset 121 Financial Credit Union in Jacksonville, Fla., and Amber Rahn, culture and organizational development manager for $1.4 billion asset Blue Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo. 

Durbin was promoted to business services director in April, when the pandemic arrived alongside a crush of SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. 

That’s when the brutally long hours began. 

Durbin typically worked 13 to 16 hours a day processing PPP loans for 121 Financial’s small business members and those at other institutions. 

Her goal: To help as many people as possible. 


Rahn made it her mission to support employees struggling with remote work situations, home schooling, anxiety, and, in some cases, financial distress as spouses lost their jobs. 

Rahn organized multiple virtual events to engage staff and build camaraderie, including a weekly series of musical sessions featuring in-house talent.  

She’s also helped many Blue Federal employees gain financial freedom with the Smart Dollar financial training program, through which staff have eliminated more than $750,000 in debt and saved $250,000. 

Durbin and Rahn are among 39 credit union leaders named as 2020 Credit Union Rock Stars by Credit Union Magazine

Sponsored by Fiserv, the Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion. 

The 200th episode of the CUNA News Podcast highlights the exceptional efforts of Durbin and Rahn to serve members and employees during this challenging time.

You can listen and subscribe to the CUNA News Podcast in Apple’s iTunes Store, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher Radio.

In this episode:

3:45: Tillery Durbin on how the pandemic affected member businesses

4:59: Long days processing PPP loans

7:50: “I would not have survived the pandemic without you.”

10:03: Outlook for 2021

11:59: What makes you successful?

13:09: Amber Rahn’s role at Blue Federal Credit Union

14:20: A typical day

15:27: Helping staff deal with stress

18:48: Employees’ response

20:11: How to engage a remote workforce

23:19: Financial training for employees

25:34: Changes made during the pandemic that you’ll keep

26:59: Clip Clop the donkey