2022 Awards of Excellence - Gary Furtado

Hall of Fame


Nonimation Letter:
It is with great enthusiasm that we nominate Gary E. Furtado, the President/CEO of Navigant Credit Union, for induction into the Cooperative Credit Union Association Hall of Fame.

Gary, who recently announced his plans to enjoy a well-earned retirement, has dedicated his entire, 44-year professional career to the member-owned, cooperative credit union model. Gary joined Navigant Credit Union (then known as Credit Union Central Falls) in 1978, shortly after completing his degree at Bryant University, and was named President/CEO in 1987, a position he has held for the last 35 years. When Gary first started his tenure as President/CEO, Navigant Credit Union was a one-branch credit union operating roughly $125 million in assets. Today, Navigant Credit Union serves more than 128,000 members across 23 physical branch locations in every corner of the state, and operates more than $3 billion in total assets. That strategic, exponential growth is a testament to Gary’s vision, leadership and business acumen. The fact that Navigant Credit Union never lost sight of its community-driven, people-first roots throughout all of that growth is a testament to Gary’s character and genuine passion for helping others.

Since its founding back in 1915, Navigant Credit Union has always been committed to carrying out the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” in its home state of Rhode Island. Under Gary Furtado’s leadership, that commitment couldn’t be more clear – both in Navigant Credit Union’s philanthropic efforts in Rhode Island, and in the products and services the credit union offers. Navigant Credit Union annually donates an average of more than $850,000 to support community-based nonprofit organizations across the state. In addition to offering financial support to worthy causes, Gary also launched Navigant Credit Union’s internal V-Force program, which encourages employees to take fully paid time out of the office to give back to charitable causes, and helped spearhead several additional ongoing philanthropic initiatives, included:

  • The Navigant Credit Union Charitable Foundation: Established in 2017, the Navigant Credit Union Charitable Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 public charity with the mission of fulfilling substantial grants that make a real difference in the communities we serve. The Foundation currently has a fund balance of $10 million. Launching this Foundation was part of Gary’s long-term vision for the future of our organization’s philanthropic activities. Gary serves as the chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
  • Navigant Credit Union Scholarship Program: Since 2001, Navigant Credit Union has awarded more than $400,000 to area high school students to help them in their pursuit of a college or technical degree. We understand how important it is to make higher education affordable for students from all walks of life. The Navigant Credit Union Scholarship is one small way we help our members to enjoy life’s journey.
  • Financial Literacy Program: With a focus on providing financial education to learners of all ages, Gary and Navigant Credit Union’s leadership team forged a partnership with the Rhode Island General Treasurer’s office to provide the EverFi™ Financial Literacy Program, an engaging, online resource that uses video, animations, and interactive activities to bring complex financial concepts to life. Since its launch in 2014, the program has impacted more than 10,000 local students across Rhode Island. In 2018, Navigant Credit  Union’s financial literacy program was honored with the Financial Capability Innovation Award, presented by Nasdaq and EverFi.

Under Gary’s leadership, Navigant Credit Union’s “People Helping People” philosophy has also extended to the very products and services we offer our members across Rhode Island. Our long-term, big-picture strategy is aligned with our mission of providing our members and neighbors across the state with the lending and banking products and expert service they need to succeed financially. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, Navigant was one of the first financial institutions in the region to begin providing emergency loans, loan payment extensions, waived fees and other relief to businesses and individuals who were impacted by the pandemic. Navigant Credit Union also processed more than $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program – more than any other credit union in Rhode Island and among the top 50 financial institutions nationwide.

Gary has proudly served as an architect of Navigant Credit Union’s people-first, family-driven culture. Gary helped define Navigant Credit Union’s set of core values, and has encouraged every member of our team to commit to our organizational promise of “treating our employees and our members like family.” The culture Gary has instilled over the years has led to Navigant Credit Union earning a reputation as one of Rhode Island’s most employee-friendly workplaces. In fact, from 2014-2020, Providence Business News named Navigant Credit Union Rhode Island’s #1 “Best Place to Work” for an unprecedented six consecutive years. Navigant Credit Union was also voted Rhode Island’s best financial institution in the Providence Journal’s Readers’ Choice Awards on three separate occasions, and has been listed in Forbes’ list of Best Credit Unions several times.

Beyond his role at Navigant Credit Union, Gary is also an active leader in Rhode Island’s local communities and a vocal and passionate champion for the national credit union movement as a whole. He has served as Board Chair for the Rhode Island Credit Union League and Chair of the Rhode Island Credit Union Advocacy Committee. He also represented the New England region on the national Credit Union National Association Board of Directors from 2015-2021, and on the Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union Board of Directors from 2002-2010. Locally, he serves as Vice Chairman on the Care New England Board of Trustees and is a former Executive Committee Member of the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club. He currently volunteers his time serving on the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Board of Directors; Little Sisters of the Poor Advisory Council; Boy Scouts of America Advisory Council; Providence Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees; and as a member of the Pawtucket Rotary Club.

It is clear that Gary is retiring with a well-earned, well-known reputation as an impactful and generous leader in Rhode Island’s business community. It for these reasons, and many more, that we nominate him for the 2022 Class of the CCUA Hall of Fame.