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May 16, 2024

Get to know John Thomasian, the new CEO at Webster First Federal Credit Union

On May 1, 2024, former Vice President of Risk Management, John Thomasian, stepped into the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Webster First. Thomasian has been in the finance industry since he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance & accounting from Nichols College. Since then, some of his achievements include graduating from the National Association of Federal Credit Union’s (NAFCU) Management Development Institute and Eascorp’s Advanced Asset Liability Management & Investment Academy. He became a chairman of the Town of New Braintree’s Finance Committee and Webster First’s Asset and Liability Management Committee. He has also been a member of the NAFCU Political Action Committee and received BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty award in 2021.

Now, John Thomasian is ready to take on the highest responsibility at the credit union. We sat down with him to pick his brain about the financial industry and where he hopes to take the credit union under his leadership.

On Finance.

Q: When did you get your start in finance and what made you choose this industry?

A: My start in the industry was 2007 as a Financial Analyst for Sovereign Bank in the Franchise Lending Division. My father is a civil engineer and instilled a sense of math in me. It grew to be one of my strengths which is why I focused my college education on finance and accounting.

Q: What would you identify as the biggest risks credit unions face?

A: Credit union industry challenges are due to the current economic environment, including credit and liquidity risks. Credit risk continues to increase significantly as families find it difficult to repay loans due to inflation. This results in less money available in savings and checking accounts which, in turn, leads to increased liquidity pressure for credit unions.

Q: What advice can you give to someone who wants to become a CEO?

A: Leverage resources, connections, and networks to stay educated on industry changes and challenges. The relationships you build along the way are critical to advancing your career.

On Company Culture.

Q: In your opinion, what qualities constitute a good company culture?

A: Developing a unified, hardworking, and dependable team is essential to be successful and have a positive culture.

Q: In what ways do you hope to improve the employee experience at Webster First?

A: To start, I would like to listen to the team to better understand where we are hitting the mark and where we could do better. Trust is the cornerstone of our acclaimed member service and I would like to make that part of our employee experience as well.

Q: How can you develop a team that works together efficiently?

A: It starts with a clear, defined vision for the company, purposefully aligning goals towards it, and empowering your team to collectively achieve that vision.

On Technology and Digital Transformation.

Q: In what ways do you hope to improve the digital member experience at Webster First?

A: In general people want a seamless banking experience, and our focus is on investing into the skillsets and infrastructure that supports a better banking experience for our members.    

Q: How can we support and train employees whose roles will be impacted by digital transformation?

A: One of the biggest obstacles I see with this topic is being able to embrace change. There is always a learning curve when it comes to change but understanding the outcome and the benefits that come with that change should be the driving factor. 

On long term goals.

Q: Where do you envision the credit union in the next five to ten years?

A: I see Webster First steadily growing in assets and membership while remaining one of the most fiscally strong credit unions in MA.