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Five Questions With: David DeCubellis

Jul 13, 2021

Five Questions With: David DeCubellis By DAVID DECUBELLIS was recently named chief lending officer for Navigant Credit Union. / COURTESY NAVIGANT CREDIT UNION David DeCubellis was recently named chief lending officer for Navigant Credit Union. DeCubellis, also a senior vice president, has worked at Navigant since 2010 leading its residential mortgage team. He previously worked for several mortgage companies, including one that he founded and operated. PBN: What are your top three priorities in your new role? DECUBELLIS: Finding efficiencies: The lending industry is ever-changing, and our team has been successful due in large part to our ability to adapt. In my new role, I need to ensure each sector of our lending team has the resources – both in terms of personnel and technological tools – it needs in order to best serve our members. Growth: When I first started 11 years ago, Navigant Credit Union really only had a presence in Blackstone Valley. Today, we’re home to more than 116,000 members and more than 20 Rhode Island branches spanning across the entire state. That growth is a testament to both our team and the lending products we offer, and we continue to proactively look for opportunities to reach new communities and new members. Culture: I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. I’ve reached this point in my professional career because of the people around me. I hope to do what I can in this new role to ensure the culture Navigant Credit Union has created over the years continues to be maintained at every level of the business. Spending the better part of my professional career surrounded by passionate, supportive and incredibly talented people has been an absolute privilege, and I look forward to playing my part in continuing to build on that culture for a future generation of Navigant Credit Union leaders. - Advertisement - PBN: How does your experience specifically in residential mortgage lending benefit you in this new position? How will you work on expanding lending in other sectors outside of residential mortgage? DECUBELLIS: When you’ve worked in this sector for as long as I have, and for as long as many of my colleagues have, you realize there is a great deal of crossover between specialties. That’s especially true at Navigant Credit Union, and it’s one of the many reasons I love working here. We have a tight-knit team of lending professionals, each of whom has their own area of expertise, and we work together every day toward the common goal of serving our members’ needs. My years of experience in the residential mortgage lending space have given me the incredible opportunity to do what I do best for countless individuals and families, which is to help them achieve the dream of homeownership. At the same time, this experience has given me the chance to meet and learn from experts in other areas of lending, who are also out there every day doing what they do best to help the people they serve. It’s by working together, by trusting each other and continuing to learn from each other, that we’ll be able to execute on our plan to grow Navigant Credit Union’s lending operations and better serve our members. PBN: What do you see as the greatest challenges facing Navigant Credit Union and the finance industry overall, in terms of retaining/attracting new business loan customers? DECUBELLIS: Since I joined the professional world decades ago, the major challenges facing the financial services sector have remained relatively constant. We’re all navigating steadily increasing competition in the marketplace, changes to consumer behavior and near-constant fluctuation in the economy. Those hurdles are always going to be present, and they’re part of what makes this industry exciting. But now, the obvious new challenge facing Navigant Credit Union and our peers in the industry is the still-ongoing impact of – and the eventual fallout from – the COVID-19 pandemic. From a lending perspective, we’re suddenly searching for answers to questions we never considered a few years ago. Are people going to continue working from home, and how will that impact the commercial lending space? What happens when the moratorium on foreclosures on the residential side is eventually lifted? How will small businesses change their models to both protect themselves and better serve their consumers? Answering those questions is going to take some time and will certainly present a challenge for our industry and many others. PBN: How does the end of the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19-related stimulus programs impact anticipated demand for business loans? DECUBELLIS: It’s too early to say whether the two will be connected in any way. The COVID-related stimulus programs like the Paycheck Protection Program were much-needed in Rhode Island and across the country, and I’m personally proud that our team at Navigant Credit Union was able to play such a large role in helping businesses access those funds. But it’s important to remember that many businesses are still spending those dollars, and many more are still going through the forgiveness process. With that said, though, I firmly believe that there will never be a lack of enterprising Rhode Islanders coming up with good ideas. Right now, as I’m typing these words, there’s someone out there coming up with a great product and formulating a great business plan that can drive profits, create jobs and make Rhode Island a better place. Our goal is to put Navigant Credit Union in a position to be there for that someone to help them make that idea a reality. PBN: How important are brick-and-mortar locations to fostering relationships and discussing the details involved in loan applications and approvals? Do you see the transition to more digital/mobile use impacting Navigant? DECUBELLIS: Short answer: We’re all-in on our physical branch locations, but we’re also all-in on mobile banking. This may sound like a hedge, but, as the kids say, you can do both. Our bullish stance on both brick-and-mortar sites and the future of mobile banking isn’t a gut feeling. It’s based on comprehensive market research and one-on-one feedback we’ve received from our members. We’ve learned that our members highly value having the option to do their business face to face with professionals they know and trust, but they also want access to the same, high-end technological tools they’d receive at a traditional, larger financial institution. Our goal is to provide the same level of personal service at every entry point to the Navigant Credit Union experience. To do it, we’re committing to combining the best of both of these worlds. With our new interactive banking kiosks, we’re bringing top-notch digital banking technology to our brick-and-mortar locations. And with our highly responsive, fully staffed contact center, we’re bringing the personal touch of our Navigant Credit Union advisers to our members who opt to do their banking virtually, away from the branches themselves. The question shouldn’t be whether digital and mobile banking is going to take over brick-and-mortar locations. It should be: How can these two options work together? Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com . Want to share this story? Click Here to purchase a link that allows anyone to read it on any device whether or not they are a subscriber. TAGS

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