RISBJ Staff | Apr 21, 2016
Holly Ferrara, Vice President of Commercial Lending, Greenwood Credit Union
“When I meet with a borrower it’s not just an interview for them, it’s an interview for me as well and I’m proud to say that, while I am the lender, I strive to make the person across from me to feel as comfortable as possible, so as to not make them feel intimidated or uneasy about the process.” The old adage of “respect goes a long way” is not lost on Holly Ferrara, Vice President of Commercial Lending for Greenwood Credit Union. “I give everyone the respect I would want myself.” This statement, while once commonplace has been lost in much of today’s hustle and bustle, relegated to a time gone by. But for Holly this is standard practice, she has the consummate “glass-half-full” attitude, naturally taking negatives and by intelligence and creative thinking makes them positives.
Greenwood Credit Union exists as a single entity, without the safety net of multiple locations. Where some may see limitations, Holly sees opportunity, “Geographically our presence is limited but I don’t find that to be a challenge, we have a great reputation in commercial lending.”
It is this same attitude that has convinced Holly to buck the mold and break out of common credit union conventions, “Commercial lending at credit unions had traditionally been geared towards small rental properties but in my four years here at Greenwood Credit Union we have expanded those horizons to include SBA loans among other commercial loan type; this expands the portfolio but more importantly meets the needs of our borrowers.”
In 2015 Holly brokered an SBA 504 loan of $335,000 for a real estate project totaling $805,000 to finance the 2,485 square foot expansion of a daycare center. The project added three new classrooms and enabled the business to accommodate up to 79 children, while also adding seven new staff positions. This is a glowing example of the effect Holly has made at GCU.
Holly began her commercial lending career in 2004 while still enrolled at Rhode Island College. She got her start as a credit analyst for a local bank and continued to professionally develop as a commercial lender, garnering increased responsibility at each and every step.
By 2010 Holly had achieved her
MBA form Bryant University and was attending various banking and commercial lending schools as well as fulfilling her passion for teaching an adjunct professor at various local schools and universities. For the last four years Holly has been in her current position as Vice President of Commercial Lending for Greenwood Credit Union. In that time she has consistently grown the commercial portfolio while making great strides in SBA lending, becoming a SBA preferred lender in 2015. As a testament to her hard work GCU finished 8th in Rhode Island for SBA lending for fiscal year 2015.
Besides her dedication to GCU, Holly also finds time to volunteer at the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center and has done so since 2008. Holly sits on the board of directors for of the organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence including domestic violence education, awareness, advocacy, and emergency shelter services.
It is these characteristics and her willingness to go above and beyond that makes it an honor to award her with the 2016 Small Business Administration Financial Services Champion of Rhode Island Award.