The effervescent Steve Jones, vice president for community development at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Lowell, may not have had a teller’s drawer for a bassinet. But he has practically grown up in the industry, being handed the reins to his first credit union less than a year after starting his first job after college.
“It was a research laboratory at the time, in Lexington,” Jones recalls. “The gentleman who was managing the credit union took a job within the company with IT, and they said, ‘How would you like to run the credit union?’ And I said, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a shot. Why not?'”
More than 35 years later, Jones has experienced almost all aspects of credit union work, but the past five years as community development officer at Jeanne D’Arc have been among the most fulfilling.
“We’ve grown so much over time, I think when I came onboard in 1996, I think I was employee 100, and over the years we’ve gotten up to 200 employees,” he said.
“As a community credit union, it felt kind of natural [to have a community development officer] … Lowell is a great city for that. There are ton of nonprofits here, and they reach out to a lot of the business community,” he said.
Jones never seems to miss any of those calls. He currently serves as chairman of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and is a board member of the Greater Lowell Family YMCA, the Cultural Organization of Lowell, the Town of Chelmsford Scholarship Fund, Chelmsford Youth Basketball League, and My Father’s House. And those commitments just scratch the surface of his charity work: He helps serve meals at the Lowell Transitional Living Center, pitches in with Rebuilding Together Lowell, works on Lowell’s Folk Festival, and rings the bell at Christmas for the Salvation Army.
In support of his nomination, Mark S. Cochran, president and CEO of Jeanne D’Arc, summed up the verdict on Jones this way: “Steve exemplifies the concept of community service and the overall mission of the credit union. His passion for helping people is evident in his actions each day.”
Putting a face – and a warm handshake – on a financial institution is all part of a days’ work for Jones.
“I think [big banks have] made our job easier,” said Jones. “I don’t think they’re user-friendly for a lot or folks and I think, during a tough economy, folks are going to gravitate toward financial institutions that are going to be helpful to them.”