2022 Awards of Excellence - Mark Cochran

CEO of the Year


Nomination Letter:
The Board of Directors and the Executive Team of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union are proud to nominate Mark S. Cochran, President and Chief Executive Officer for consideration in the CEO of the Year category for the Awards of Excellence competition.

As we are all aware, the last couple of years have been demanding on all Chief Executives due to the lingering pandemic and the myriad of subsequent challenges resulting from it.  Layer on a much needed core conversion and the dozens of subprojects that come along with that (which culminated in the fall of 2021 for Jeanne D’Arc) and you are really testing the leadership and engagement of an organization!

Taking into consideration the challenges over the two previous years, Mark deemed 2022 the “year of the people,” acknowledging the stress on our employees, limiting projects, and focusing on processes that improve the employee’s ability to do their job. The Credit Union’s stated Core Values were also enhanced to be more representative of who we are collectively today.  Mark also significantly increased the resourced available to the Employee Engagement Committee in an effort to ensure that the distance created between employees during COVID does not have a long-term impact on the Credit Union’s culture.  Mark’s empathetic leadership during this time of significant change and unrest is consistent with his tenure at the Credit Union and an example of why we feel that he is deserving of this award.

Throughout his fifteen years at Jeanne D’Arc, Mark has continued to fulfill the credit union’s Mission of “Helping Members make smart financial choices.” He has grown the staff and membership base and has increased assets from $600 million to just under $1.9 billion, more than tripling loans and total assets. Since Mark’s arrival, total capital is 2.3 times larger, net income is 7.2 times higher, with a 12% improvement in efficiency ratio, and 3.8 times improvement to ROE.  Mark has guided the Credit Union through physical growth as well, doubling the number of branches, building a new headquarters, a new Lowell branch, and establishing two high school branches. A second office building is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2024.

Led by Mark, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union is the first Massachusetts credit union to apply and be accepted by the interstate branching bill. The Credit Union announced its plans to expand into New Hampshire by opening a Nashua Branch in 2016.

In 2011 Mark established The We Share A Common Thread Foundation, partnering with local philanthropic organizations to expand access to food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education in the Greater Lowell Area. Since its inception, the Foundation and Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union have donated more than $3 million to nearly800 local nonprofit organizations.

After the sudden passing of the Credit Union’s Community Engagement Officer, Steve Jones, Mark established the Steve Jones Legacy Fund to honor his memory and legacy of service. The earnings from the fund are distributed annually to the non-profits that Steve was passionate about.

Mark Cochran embodies the Credit Union’s mission of “Heart to Serve.” His community involvement includes serving on numerous boards including The Lowell Plan, D’Youville Life, and Wellness Community, Lowell General Hospital, Tufts Medicine, Mill City Festival Fund, Lawrence Partnership, Crossway Community Church, Co-Chair Lowell City of Lights Parade Committee, and the We Share A Common Thread Foundation, and several industry boards including EasCorp and CCUA.

While the Credit Union continues to grow, Mark supports the growth of the Jeanne D’Arc team, adding 66% more staff during his tenure. Mark continues to look for innovative programs and benefits to support the staff. To name a few, he has established a unique Infant at Work program to help new parents transition back to work, as well as a Student Loan Paydown program offering assistance to those with student loans.

Jeanne D’Arc’s strong relationship and active participation in the Cooperative Credit Union Association is just one of several examples of Mark’s strong support of the Credit Union Movement. As a result of Mark’s relationships with Credit Union leaders across the country, we were invited to join the Callahan Credit Union Financial Services Limited Partnership (CUFSLP). The partnership is comprised of 32 high-performing Credit Unions and represents over 10% of the total assets of all credit unions in the US.  Efforts such as CUFSLP, our annual participation in the CUNA Government Affairs Conference, and executive development at the CUEs Institutes and Cardwell Leadership have resulted in national name recognition for Jeanne D’Arc, and a reputation as a leader in the industry.

Mark Cochran is a leader who can put the needs of the members, the employees, and the community at the forefront while building a thriving and growing business, and that’s the definition of a true and successful leader, and why we ask for your consideration of Mark S. Cochran as CEO of the Year.