In just six years, Jill Banning went from getting her foot into the door of REGIONAL Federal Credit Union to becoming the CEO and President of the Northwest Indiana-based company.
“My education was in programming, which was my way of getting my foot into the door at REGIONAL,” Banning said. “Then, I just found the industry was exactly where I wanted to be and just started working my way up.”
Banning grew up in the Calumet Township area between Griffith and Gary. She lived in the Hebron area for about six years before moving to Schererville, where she currently lives with her family. Banning graduated from Purdue Northwest with a degree in computer programming and within the year of her graduation in 1987, she had found her place at REGIONAL.
“I honestly just graduated from college, I needed a job and I didn’t know anything about credit unions,” she said. She was hired to work within the computer operations department first.
“I was really just looking for a job at that time. It was being in the right place, at the right time, kind of opportunity that came up,” she explained.
Banning became the CEO and President of the company in 1993 and since has been in the leadership role of both her staff and the community.
In her position, she is able to look and observe the trends of the industry and the economy, then plan accordingly on how to proceed. Though she is not working the teller drawer everyday, Banning says she is always watching for the problems and developments that will help her forecast what is going to happen and what changes will be needed to make the best impact for their membership.
As a well-known name throughout the community, Banning and her team at REGIONAL are regularly seen at events and ceremonies. Usually, her team appears at events like chamber meetings and school fairs, but you will see Banning for the larger, special gatherings as well
“REGIONAL has been blessed with quite a few awards, so the great things I get to go to are a lot of awards ceremonies, which are always fun,” she said.
Banning knew from day one she had found her place at REGIONAL FCU. Since that first day in the computer department, she understood the importance of what the REGIONAL does for its members and the community altogether.
“The best thing about the credit union is you have an impact on lives, but it is a business so you can make a decision based on what is best for other people,” she explained. “It is not all about money, it’s not all about profit. It is inspiring to come in and go to work everyday and be able to make a tough decision and know you did it for the right reason.”
Banning enjoys coming to work every day to lead her team through these decisions, while keeping the office environment motivating and fun.
Reading is a big pastime for the busy CEO, but she makes sure her time spent on her book can be used elsewhere. Reading motivational and inspirational books is something Banning finds entertaining, especially when she can take what she reads and introduce it to her own staff.
“Some people don’t find these books relaxing,” she said laughing. “But I love hearing different things people do to inspire and motivate people and then see if I can take those practices and bring them back to the office. I really want to make sure we are making decisions for our members everyday, but I just really feel passionate about wanting the team to come in and value what they do everyday and have some fun. Anything I can read to bring some fun into the workplace is entertaining for me.”
Banning says her great team is the reason she has loves coming to work and the reason the credit union is so successful.
Every free moment she has, Banning is spending time with her family. Banning devotes a lot of time to having fun with her 23-year-old daughter who has special needs and lives at home, she said. She also visits her son and her two grandsons, ages four and six, as often as she can.
Banning always knew her position at REGIONAL FCU was the right position for her, just like she always knew Northwest Indiana was the right home.
“It’s just a very comfortable place and I love to be able to walk within the diversity of the people and talk to them about anything,” she said. “I have two brothers who both migrated to Florida, and yes, it is a great place to visit, but this is home. I can’t imagine any other place to be.”
For more information on REGIONAL Federal Credit Union, click here.