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Donna Hayward: Arkansas Federal There When She Needed It


The services and products available at Arkansas Federal Credit Union are comprehensive when it comes to a members’ financial well-being: banking, saving, investing, insuring, financing, advising. The credit union is a one-stop shop to help navigate life’s important milestones.

But its most important role has little to do with finances. When member Donna Hayward of Maumelle needed support, she found it at Arkansas Federal.

Donna lost her husband Eric to cancer in the summer of 2018. The Haywards had just refinanced their home the previous fall with plans to remodel. Cancer intervened, and they never got around to the updates. Alone in a house too big for her to manage, Donna needed to downsize. The Haywards previously had worked with Tery Young in the west Little Rock office, and in November Donna reached out to her.

“When I realized my home was too big and much too much for me to care for myself, I started looking at homes trying to decide if I could buy a more manageable one,” Donna said. “I emailed Tery, and she very quickly helped determine that I could purchase a new home. She took care of the change in ownership of our old home and getting the details in my name. She took care of everything for my new home as well, and was very patient with me through the process since it was a time of intense grief.”

Tery remembers the tears, but knew Donna was strong and ready to look forward.

“She was overwhelmed by the process since she had never had to do this on her own,” Tery said. “Both buying and selling a home in the same day is very emotional and stressful. I’m so thankful that she trusted me and allowed me to help walk her through this huge change in her life.”

Donna said Tery made the entire process simple and easy.

“She has always been friendly, professional, caring and prompt,” Donna said. “Every time I had a question, she was so good to not only answer the question but assure me that my questions were welcome at any time. She even had tissues when I needed them. This has been a very emotional experience for me; the first huge thing I have done by myself.”

Donna and Eric always found Arkansas Federal to be more personal — “less institutional” — than traditional banks. The credit union’s wide variety of products and services always catered to their needs. And in Donna’s hour of need, Arkansas Federal was there with the support she needed.

“The best thing about Arkansas Federal is the people,” she said. “All the people we’ve dealt with there have been so very nice and helpful.”

Donna settled into her new Maumelle home in time for Christmas. She misses her old house, in which she and Eric lived for almost 23 years. But in addition to the furniture, she’s moving all her memories with her to the new place.

“It isn’t the same for sure, but I’ve crossed a threshold in the grieving process and am looking forward instead of always behind,” she said. “In a way, it’s been a traumatic experience since it made me realize how much I miss my husband and how we did everything together. But this is a new phase of my life, and new chapters are being written. I’m privileged to have some very fine people helping write this one; Tery has been one of those people.”

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