It’s a Wonderful Life

OnPath’s Jared Freeman

Jared Freeman

Jared Freeman is one of those people who makes a difference in the New Orleans region. As President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OnPath Federal Credit Union, Freeman is dedicated to helping members achieve their goals — even when times are tough.

“When our members face life’s challenges, or when they are burdened with financial difficulties, we work to find solutions to help,” Freeman said. “Our members are our stakeholders. That’s not just semantics. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, for example, we waved all our fees on everything for two months because we thought it was the right thing to do.”

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In a single week following Hurricane Ida, OnPath granted $2,000 loans to five thousand members at just one percent interest. “It was a practical approach,” Freeman said. “No matter your income or credit score, if you had a job and deposited your paycheck into your OnPath account, we granted the loan. People needed money to evacuate, to buy generators and gas, and OnPath provided the relief.”

In July 2020, Freeman was named President and CEO of OnPath. And he hit the ground running, leading a major expansion, rebranding, and transformation effort during a time of uncertainty in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Freeman did not waver when challenged to meet OnPath’s ambitious membership and lending targets while embracing the new brand. He also needed to create a positive member experience at a time when most organizations were still figuring out how to operate in a post-Covid environment. Three years after taking up the challenge, Freeman has seen OnPath become one of the fastest-growing credit unions in the country.

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“Three years ago, we did not have a minimum wage. Now OnPath has a $17-dollar minimum wage. Front line officers earn more than $20 dollars per hour as part of our incentive structure,” Freeman said. “This is an investment in our people which has a multiplier impact because it means we can better serve our members. I see a bright future ahead.”

Based in Metairie, OnPath has been operating in the New Orleans area for over 60 years, with branches in Algiers, Covington, Harahan, Harvey, Mandeville, New Orleans (Mid City, Uptown), Slidell, Thibodaux, and Westwego. And the organization has more plans to expand. “We’re working on re-entering the New Orleans East sector,” Freeman said. “We purchased property there last year, and now we are working with city and community officials to establish our presence in this underbanked area.”

Freeman credited his childhood as the motivating factor for his leadership in the credit union industry. “Coming up, I was oftentimes forced to go without things — not because I

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acted up as a kid — but because my family couldn’t afford them, and we struggled with

finances. For each member who is challenged with making wise financial decisions for their

future, I want to be there. I want OnPath to be there”.

Like the character George Bailey in the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, Freeman’s love for the community impacts how he manages OnPath Federal Credit Union. “When my wife and I moved here, we didn’t know anyone. We’ve all heard about southern hospitality, but in the New Orleans area, you really feel it. It’s full of truly friendly people,” Freeman said. “You might be walking your dog and say hello to your neighbors who are having a crawfish boil and the next thing you know you’re at the table with them.”

Besides volunteering and spending time with their beloved dog, Scout, Freeman and his wife enjoy attending local festivals and events with friends.

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