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About Our CEO

About Our CEO

About Our CEO

Lourdes Cortez

President & CEO
North Jersey Federal Credit Union

Lourdes Cortez

Lourdes Cortez began her professional banking career in 1984 as a representative at the North Jersey Federal Credit Union. After progressing through several positions, she became CEO in 2005. In the past 15 years, North Jersey Federal’s assets have steadily grown from $161 million to $233 million. As the first Latina CEO of a major credit union in NJ, not only has Lourdes’ stewardship increased the assets of North Jersey Federal, but her commitment to giving back to the community has been tremendous. One such example was the creation of New Jersey’s first student-run credit union with a state-approved curriculum.

As CEO, Lourdes crystalized the credit union’s community involvement with the creation of the North Jersey Federal Credit Union Foundation. Organizations that have received support from the foundation include Autism Radio, Boys & Girls Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, Eva’s Village, and the Marines Care Organization. For her decades of commitment to her profession, Lourdes has still made community involvement a priority. At every opportunity, she uses her influence to help the less unfortunate.

For her decades of commitment to her profession, Lourdes has still made community involvement a priority. At every opportunity, she uses her influence to help the less unfortunate.

On behalf of North Jersey Federal Credit Union, Lourdes has helped national and local charities, such as CASA (Community Action Social Affairs), the March of Dimes, and the American Cancer Society.

As the first Latina CEO of a credit union in New Jersey, diversity has always mattered to Lourdes, particularly since she has faced adversity herself.  She makes it a point to lead the credit union with compassion and inclusiveness. The credit union’s website was one of the first of its kind to have both English and Spanish versions.

Recognizing the growth of the Hispanic population, her diversity initiatives include Spanish-speaking employees at every branch. She had also instituted a gay-friendly environment providing benefits to employees and their partners long before equal rights campaigns became popular in New Jersey.  It is her personal mission that employees benefit from the success of the organization. Notably, North Jersey Federal Credit Union is a place where staff can grow with the support of the credit union through its many educational programs, fun events, philanthropic initiatives, as well as having all their banking needs met. Additionally, she has created a family-friendly work environment that benefits working mothers and fathers.  The credit union offers flexible work hours and schedules and allows parents to bring their children to work in the event of emergencies when they cannot get child care.

Lourdes hails from Paterson, New Jersey, where she grew up the middle child of five with an older brother and a set of triplet younger sisters.  Her parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when they were just 18 years old to begin a new life and a new family. Lourdes attended Catholic elementary school and public high school. Later, she attended Montclair State University and Kaplan College. As a dedicated single mother of three, Lourdes demonstrates that you can work your way to the top through hard work and determination. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children, reading self-improvement and inspirational books, and golfing.

The North Jersey FCU Board of Directors firmly believes that the North Jersey Federal Credit Union’s continued success is a reflection of Lourdes’s personal merit and a testament to her commitment to excellence.

AWARDS AND HONORS

  • The 2007 Dora Maxwell Award for community involvement
  • The 2007 Casa’s Women of Vision Award for courage and determination
  • Honored by: NJBiz magazine, as one of the Best 50 Women in Business in NJ
  • Honored by: the School of Business Technology, Marketing and Finance, for Outstanding Dedication & Support
  • The Municipal Council Citation – City of Paterson
  • The 2007 The State of New Jersey Senate Citation
  • The 2007 Congressional Recognition
  • The 2007 Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey Award
  • The 2008 Paterson Public Schools District and Community of Paterson – Equity and Diversity Council
  • The 2008 United Way Campaign Passaic County Award
  • The 2008 UMDNJ Latino Heritage Celebration Award
  • The 2009 Women of Vision Award from William Paterson University
  • The 2009 Women Changing Paterson Award
  • The 2010 North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce Star Award in Business
  • The 2010 Salute to the Policy Makers Award from Executive Women of NJ
  • The 2010 New Jersey General Assembly Resolution
  • The 2010 Professional Service Business Person of the Year Award presented by Governor Jon Corzine for commitment to the preservation of the environment and growth of New Jersey and Hispanic community
  • The 2012 Women of Achievement Award from the Girl Scouts of Northern NJ
  • The 2013 New Jersey Women’s Network in Higher Education for Prominent Leader and Trailblazer
  • The 2013 Passaic County Champions of Disabilities Award
  • The 20132014 Edition – The Latino American “Who’s Who
  • The 2014 United Way of Greater Union County Award
  • The 2014 Woman of Influence Award from the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
  • The 2014 Honoree with the Hispanic Business Council Scholarship Foundation of NJ.
  • The 2015 “Hope Saves the Day Award” for her efforts in the autistic community
  • The 2015 Brava Awards from SmartCEO
  • Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce Award
  • The 2015 CIANJ/Commerce Magazine Best Practices Awards
  • The 2015 The Vistage Member Award
  • The 2016 Corporate Culture Award from SmartCEO
  • The 2016 Illustrious Award from the Institute for Latino Studies
  • The 2016 Team Hope Community Service Award
  • The 2016 Friend of Education Awards from the Passaic County Education Association
  • The 2017 Honoree with the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • The 2017 recipient of the AAUW GWA Trailblazer Award
  • The 2018: 4 C’s of Passaic County – In recognition of being the 1st Latina CEO of a Credit Union in New Jersey
  • 2018 Saluted by Senator Pou during Women’s History Month
  • 2018 Puerto Rican Parade Committee – in recognition for Organization Leaders
  • The 2018 Yo Soy ASI – Hispanos Unidos Por El Autismo
  • The 2019 Jefferson Award from the Governor of New Jersey for her public service
  • The 2019 Trademark Women of Distinction Honors Edition
  • The 2020 William Paterson University Legacy award Distinguished Friend

ACCOMPLISHMENTS 

  • Operation care and share
  • First credit union to have a bilingual website
  • Opening New branch in Elmwood Park
  • Relocating Newark Branch
  • In 2011 initiating the NJFCU Student Run-Branch at J.F. Kennedy High School – state certified
  • CDFI Certification 2015
  • Core conversion 2016
  • First Sponsorship of Passaic Film Festival 2016
  • Launched ITIN Lending Program
  • First credit union to have a branch on wheels called “Green Machine”
  • Annual Small Business Summit
  • Annual Golf outing
  • Juntos Avanzamos Launched 2016
  • Launched Cash Back Checking 2017
  • Hosted the first, First Time Home buyers seminar 2017
  • Hosted First Passaic Impact Breakfast 2018
  • Implemented our in-house credit card program
  • Celebrated National Women’s History Month sponsoring an exhibit with PHS 2018
  • Began relationship with AAA 2018
  • Moved to MasterCard 2018
  • Signed on with PPC for underwriting consumer loans 2019
  • Created North Jersey FCU Foundation to raise funds for scholarships
  • Launched the kids Kash Club account

BOARD MEMBERSHIPS AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Recently appointed to the St. Joseph’s Healthcare System Advisory Board
  • Appointed by the Federal Reserve to serve on the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC)
  • Serves on the Board of Trustees of William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ
  • Serves on the Board of Directors for The Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic
  • Serves on the Steering Committee for Paterson Public Schools
  • Served on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Multi Cultural Center
  • Served on the Board of Directors for the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce
  • Served on the Board of Directors for the Workforce Development Board of Passaic County till 2018
  • Served on the Board for Executive Women of New Jersey
  • Served on the Board of Trustees for the Passaic County United Way
  • Served on the Board of the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Served on the Board of Newark Charter School
  • Involved with La Casa de Don Pedro Community Out Reach Programs
  • Served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Education Credit Union Council