"Columbus members will now have the added convenience of an 11 branch network."
By Michael Souza PBN Staff Writer
Gary E. Furtado is the president and CEO at Navigant Credit Union. He has been with Navigant for 30 years. He is credited with taking a one-branch community credit union and expanding it into the fifth largest, multi-branch financial institution headquartered in Rhode Island. Navigant serves all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Furtado is an active member of the community and serves on the board of directors of Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union.
PBN: Congratulations on your recently announced merger. What made Columbus Credit Union a credible prospect?
FURTADO: Columbus Credit Union has been an active member of their community since they opened in 1950. They have a similar culture to ours at Navigant, with a great concern for their employees, members and the community. Columbus Credit Union's two branch locations increase Navigant's market area and strengthen our existing branch network.
PBN: Is Navigant currently working on similarly large ventures, or other mergers?
FURTADO: We have successfully completed mergers in the past. We are in the midst of merging a small credit union, the Carol Cable Credit Union, right now. No other mergers are actively under consideration as this time, but we’re always evaluating ways to expand our services to new customers. We are opening our 11th branch in Chepachet, in August.
PBN: What prompted the merger? Footprint expansion?
FURTADO: Columbus Credit Union had been actively searching for a partner for over a year. They recognized the increasing burden of regulation would make it more difficult to provide the level of service their members had come to expect. They approached us several months ago and after careful consideration, we felt the organizations were well matched for a merger. From our perspective, it was an opportunity to add two well-positioned branches in Riverside and Warren. We’re excited at the opportunity to serve more members who live and work in the East Bay, and we’re committed to providing them with the exceptional banking experience for which Navigant Credit Union is known.
PBN: What services will now be new for former Columbus Credit Union customers?
FURTADO: Columbus members will now have the added convenience of an 11 branch network. The most significant new services will be on the commercial side. Navigant has a wide array of business services on the deposit side. The business lending Navigant offers includes SBA loans. On the retail side, Columbus offers a strong lineup of consumer products, so we will simply be enhancing the services they currently offer. For instance, they will have access to our very popular journey rewards checking account and mobile banking platform.
PBN: What is Navigant doing to remain competitive?
FURTADO: We are investing in technology that will allow us to streamline our operations and make the member experience even better. We’re continuing to invest in our communities, not just with dollars but also with human capital. We participate in many ways to help make our communities stronger. We have found that if we invest in our communities and earn their trust, they will invest in us. This is how we will conduct business in the East Bay. As a Warren resident myself, I’m particularly excited to bring Navigant to this area.