Desert Financial Credit Union Appoints New Retail Director to Lead ‘Phygital’ Revolution


Credit unions are different from traditional banks and are member-owned nonprofit cooperatives that invest in local communities and extend financial tools and education to underserved people.

A veteran of credit unions, Wallace rose through the ranks, investing his career with Alliant Credit Union in Chicago, Illinois, for three decades. Alliant is an award-winning national credit union with over 600,000 members.

“We are delighted that Laura has joined our team at this particular time in particular,” said Cathy Graham, executive vice president of Desert Financial. “She brings a wealth of experience across many industries, but improving the member experience is her true passion.”

In her new role as Senior Vice President, Chief Retail Officer, Wallace will lead sales and services for Desert Financial’s retail branch network, which now has 47 branches with the opening of a new branch in Prescott Valley in September 2021.

Wallace’s mission includes aligning processes and technology to enable the delivery of consistent and superior member service.

Today, Desert Financial offers a variety of innovative digital and contactless options as well as personalized services in locations across the valley.

“As technology continues to advance, our members expect a consistent experience across all channels and simple tools to make their lives easier,” says Wallace. “It is essential that we align with these expectations by executing our ‘Call, Click or Enter’ and ‘Phygital’ strategies. In other words, how do we effectively combine agency and digital services so that our great team can focus on building relationships and handling more complex situations? “

It’s a tall order, but Wallace is up to the challenge as the financial services industry evolves to keep pace with the rapid pace of change. Wallace says Desert Financial’s strong corporate philanthropy also prompted her to migrate west to join the growing team. In 2020, the company donated more than $ 3 million to support dozens of Covid-19 relief efforts from local nonprofits.

The credit union movement has a significant number of female executives, with 51% representation of CEOs in the industry, a stark contrast to traditional banks. Wallace describes his leadership style as accessible, supportive and collaborative. She actively invites ideas from all areas of the organization and embraces change, and feels at home in the open and supportive culture of Desert Financial.

“I love the credit union movement because it’s really about membership – how to improve their lives through community involvement and feedback, better prices, lower fees, financial advice and education, etc., ”Wallace said.

About Desert Financial Credit Union

Celebrating more than 80 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state’s largest local credit union with $ 7 billion in assets, more than 350,000 members and 47 branches. Member eligibility is open throughout Arizona with contactless solutions through eBranch, making it easy to call, click or enter. As a non-profit cooperative, Desert Financial is proud to share success. In 2020, members received $ 14 million in dividends through the Member Giveback Bonus, and Desert Financial gave over $ 5 million in COVID-19 relief as well as random donations, scholarships and acts of kindness to our members, our community and our team. Learn more about the difference between credit unions at or follow us @desertfinancial.

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  • Desert Financial Credit Union Appoints New Retail Director to Lead ‘Physical’ Revolution
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