Amanda Lopez knows that success is built on hard work—and by hard work, she means work that might have discouraged anyone with just a little less determination. As vice president and the consumer finance manager at Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB), Lopez uses that sense of grit, as well as her natural creative flair, to make an impact for her customers and team members alike.
Though Lopez was born in the United States, her parents moved to Puerto Rico (her father’s birthplace) when she was just a few months old. “I was raised there until about the age of twelve,” Lopez explains, “and although we were very poor, I never knew it.” Both of her parents worked extremely hard, she says, to support the family and to make sure that Lopez and her four siblings never quite knew how tough things were.
“At night, my parents would wait for us to fall asleep and then go into the woods for fruits so they could have breakfast on the table for us,” Lopez recalls. Though life was challenging at times—especially after Hurricane Hugo hit the island—Lopez loved her time in Puerto Rico, especially sharing fun times with her school friends. “It’s one of the sweetest memories of my childhood—laughing, spending time together, and just loving life,” Lopez says warmly.
One of the most important lessons Lopez carries with her from her childhood is the belief that diversity is so important and is all around us. “Each and every one of us has a unique background and a story to be told,” she says. “In my eyes, diversity isn’t just about ethnicity or race, it’s about more than that. It’s about recognizing everyone’s individual differences, from personal values and sexual orientation to physical abilities and gender.”
After returning to the US, Lopez continued to be inspired by her family’s hard work ethic. Indeed, that tenacity was key when, at seventeen, Lopez faced a pivotal point in her life. She was pregnant with her daughter, had dropped out of high school, and was the victim of domestic violence. When her daughter was born, Lopez chose to leave her marriage. “I broke the barriers for myself and for her,” Lopez says. “I obtained my high school diploma while attending night school—I became focused on my goals, for both my daughter and myself.”
By the time she was nineteen, Lopez had found a position as a receptionist and loan processor at a small mortgage company. In the years that followed, she earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice from Colorado Technical University, secured a position as a junior underwriter, and learned how to underwrite loans. None of that even makes mention of the stark reality that Lopez was also battling Lyme disease over the course of those early professional years. Still, she refused to let the disease define her—instead using it to both underline her resilience and her will.
Through it all, as she was exposed to more and more aspects of the business, Lopez was reminded of the lessons she had learned while growing up in Puerto Rico. “I learned that I could do anything that I was committed to and worked hard for,” Lopez says of her years at the IC Federal Credit Union and GFA Federal Credit Union.
“I couldn’t be more proud to work with such a great team. I lead by believing that I can learn from everyone—together, we can build a shared vision to drive success.”
Lopez has seen that hard work continues to pay off at Cambridge Savings Bank. After joining the company in 2015, the VP has completed several project management training programs and is currently participating in CSB’s middle-management development program. That training has helped instill in her the customer-centric mind-set that sets Cambridge Savings Bank apart from other financial institutions, Lopez notes.
Cambridge Savings Bank and the Importance of Community
“What continues to amaze me is how committed Cambridge Savings Bank is to the local community. In addition to financial investments and education in the communities, CSB even provides employees with paid time off to volunteer. Recently, I had the opportunity to help families who have children with autism as they completed an airport travel test run. I was able to bring my daughter with me, and I loved sharing that amazing experience with her.” —Amanda Lopez
“We recently worked with one of our customers who was applying for a personal loan but didn’t meet the qualifications for that particular kind of loan,” Lopez recalls. “Rather than denying it, I explored other options, assessed her individual situation and needs, and was able to find a product that would be a fit for her. The customer was thrilled that we were able to provide her with a loan and I was too—I love being able to find unique solutions for our customers. It’s part of what we truly embody at CSB: treating every customer like they are our one and only.”
During her tenure at Cambridge Savings Bank, Lopez has also implemented an innovative end-to-end system intended to streamline the consumer loan application process and remove significant points of friction from that process. Creating that system was a “tremendous” learning experience, Lopez says, and something that she couldn’t have achieved without the support of her colleagues at CSB.
“I couldn’t be more proud to work with such a great team,” Lopez says. “I lead by believing that I can learn from everyone—together, we can build a shared vision to drive success.”
Lopez and her team have certainly secured a number of successes thus far—in the past four years, she notes, her consumer finance division has grown considerably. Now, the VP and her team are looking to build on that foundation and introduce more cutting-edge initiatives to the market, including an initiative designed to connect younger audiences to lending products tailored to their needs and life stage.
“At Cambridge Savings Bank, I feel at home,” Lopez says, “able to grow my career and inspired to make a difference in our customers’ lives.”