Civic employees

Focused on you, every day

Together, we are creating something new – a digital-first credit union rooted in community, unity, and collaboration.

Civic 2021

Get a quick, behind-the-scenes look at the people of Civic—committed to helping you meet your goals, grow your business, and create jobs across North Carolina. We are all building Civic for you. Each day is an opportunity for collaboration, education, and purpose-driven ideas. And while 2020 was a difficult year for us all, we remain focused on meeting your needs and driving real impact for you, your organizations and your community.

Watch this short video and walk in our Civic shoes for a few minutes. [6 minutes].


The Civic Annual Meeting

Save the date for the Civic Annual Meeting, March 19th. Meet the board of directors and hear from CEO Maurice Smith about new 2021 initiatives to increase financial wellness and build on the momentum of 2020. We will stream the event live, here on the Civic website.

Our Mission


Our mission is to help improve the lives of members like you, and to invest in the community you work so hard for.

About Civic

Civic was created in response to changes in your banking needs and to advancements in financial services. With technology that makes it easier for you to access your money, Civic will reach members beyond a branch, more deeply and directly than ever before.


When members like you asked for financial services at their fingertips, we heard them. In response, we built a credit union that makes money management nearly effortless and prioritizes convenience.


At the heart of all we do is our authentic commitment to you, as a Civic member. We know you depend on us to offer products, services and expertise that support your financial success.


Civic is grounded in communities, with social and environmental practices that use financing to do good across the state of North Carolina.


Just like you, we're dedicated to making the world a better place. From our investments in towns, cities and counties, to our environmentally conscious LEED Gold certified headquarters, Civic works to generate positive financial, environmental and social impacts across North Carolina.

Civic FCU building

More than just a credit union, Civic was built to address your financial needs, support your goals and share your ideas.

Board of Directors

Paul Miller

Paul Miller, CCUB


As an accomplished executive in the private sector and with state and local governments, Mr. Miller brings decades of experience to his role as Chair. Miller served with the subscriber group that organized and chartered Civic FCU and served as Vice Chairman of the inaugural Board. 

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Miller is a former executive director of the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association; a position he held for 23 years, and worked toward since he began work in 1990 as the Assistant Executive Secretary. Since retirement in 2013, he currently serves as the Executive Director Emeritus. 

Miller also worked for the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services as a regional coordinator and the Community College System as the Emergency Services Coordinator for James Sprunt Community College. He began his service with credit unions in 1999 by serving on the LGFCU Eastern Carolina Advisory Council. He joined the LGFCU Board of Directors in 2000 and has served as Chairman. 

Miller served many years on the Snow Hill Town Board and one term as a Greene County Commissioner. Additionally, he worked for 22 years in a private family business in his hometown of Snow Hill, North Carolina. Miller earned a BA in Political Science from North Carolina State University. He is married and has three children and seven grandchildren. Paul and his family are members of the Snow Hill Presbyterian Church. 

Jeanne Erwin

Jeanne Erwin, CPA, CGFM, CCUB

Vice Chair

As a fiscal leader throughout the Triangle region, Ms. Jeanne Erwin brings deep municipal experience to her role as Vice Chairperson. She holds the designation of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). Erwin served with the subscriber group that organized and chartered Civic FCU. 

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She has served North Carolina in leadership capacity for the City of Raleigh, Town of Chapel Hill, Durham Public Schools and Office of the State Auditor as Auditor, Accounting Manager/Director and Fiscal Manager. Her credit union experience includes serving on both the credit union Board and Supervisory Committees and earning the Certified Credit Union Board Member (CCUB) designation. Erwin earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a member of the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and has served in several roles including Senior Vice President and National Treasurer.

Aaron Noble

Dr. Aaron P. Noble, Ed.D, CCUB


As a municipal leader, Mr. Noble brings a diverse range of professional services experience to his role as Secretary. In 2018, Noble served with the subscriber group who organized and chartered Civic FCU. 

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He has served as a credit union volunteer since 1997; the first, as a member of the LGFCU Northern Piedmont Advisory Council; and later, he served on the Loan Review Committee for several years prior to his appointment to the LGFCU Board of Directors in 2011. He served the City of Burlington for 32 years; a decade as the city’s first public information officer; and the remaining time as the human resources director. Noble earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Hampton University; a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a doctorate in education from North Carolina State University. He is a native of Burlington, North Carolina and also serves his community as a member of the Alamance Regional Advisory Board and the Alamance Community College Foundation Board of Directors. After retiring in 2019, he continues to work as a human resources consultant. 

Kellie Blue

Kellie Blue


As a strategic leader and fiscal steward, Ms. Blue brings in-depth community and management knowledge to her role as Treasurer. In addition to her role with Civic, she currently serves on the LGFCU Board of Directors, a position she has held since 2012. Blue served with the subscriber group that organized and chartered Civic FCU in 2018. 

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Twelve years earlier, she began her local service career with the Eastern Sandhills Advisory Council. Blue is a native of Robeson County where she currently serves as County Manager. She earned a degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and serves on the UNC Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina system as well as other Boards.

Ruth Barnes

Ruth Barnes, CCUB, VAP

Board Director

As a community engagement leader, Ms. Barnes brings keen experience about community engagement and empowerment to her role as Board of Director. She was elected to the LGFCU Board of Directors in 1989 and has served in all Board officer positions including Chair. She also served with the group of subscribers who organized and chartered Civic FCU. 

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Barnes is the current ambassador for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and founder of the North Carolina Chapter of the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN). She holds credit union designations from the CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP), and is a  Certified Credit Union Board Member (CCUB). Barnes is also an active member of the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) and INCLUSIV. She is a graduate of Hardbargers Business College and North Carolina State University and is a past Finance Director and Information Systems Officer for the Wake County ABC Board (retired). She is also a former commissioner for the Atlantic Beach Town Council. Barnes has been assisting local government and residential audiences with their real estate needs since 1978. She currently serves her community as a licensed REALTOR® and holds the designations of Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) and Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute (GRI).

Willie Best

Willie Best

Board Director

As an accomplished economic development leader, Mr. Best brings experienced leadership from across the mid-Atlantic region to his role as Board of Director. He is the founding Chair of Civic FCU and served with the subscriber group who organized and chartered Civic FCU. 

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Best has a service-led career that began as a credit union volunteer in 1991; and a long history with LGFCU, where he began in 1992. First, as a member of the Loan Review Committee, then as an LGFCU Board of Director in 1993; ultimately serving as its Chair. He has served in various areas of leadership across North Carolina, including Wilson County, Robeson County, Guilford County, Orange County and the City of Falls Church, Virginia. In addition, he served as Town Councilman for the Garysburg Town Council from 1982-1984. Best earned a Bachelor of Arts from North Carolina Central University and a Master of Public Administration from American University. As a retiree, Best continues to serve those who serve North Carolina through his role at Civic.

Lin Jones

Lin Jones, CPA, CCUB

Board Director

As a certified public accountant, Mr. Jones brings decades of executive leadership and fiscal experience to his role as Board of Director. In 2018, Jones served with the subscriber group who organized and chartered Civic FCU. In addition to Civic FCU, Jones currently serves on the LGFCU Board of Directors where he began his service on the LGFCU Supervisory Committee. 

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In 1996, Jones was elected to the LGFCU Board of Directors; and has served in all of its Board officer positions including Chair. He holds the designation of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is a member of the North Carolina Association of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. Moreover, he is a former president of the North Carolina Local Government Investment Association and holds the CUNA designation of Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP). Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting from Appalachian State University. Jones is the retired Finance Director of the Town of Garner.


Maurice SmithMaurice Smith

Maurice Smith


"Members come to Civic with their dreams and hopes for the future. Our job is to help them fill in the blank with financial products that meet their needs. This is truly exciting."

Maurice Smith has worked in the credit union industry for 40 years. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Smith was named executive vice president of Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) in 1992, and in 2017 was named Chief Executive Officer of both LGFCU and Civic Federal Credit Union. He is the former board chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and has volunteered on several other credit union industry boards. Smith calls himself a "credit union geek" and notes that credit union advocacy is his passion. In 2019, he received the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s (AACUC) Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award based on his tireless commitment to the credit union industry.

When describing his CEO duties, Smith explained, "I see to it Civic's philosophy and offerings are consistent with members' demands and need for an authentic financial experience. As a Civic advocate, I represent the interests of members with regulators, public policymakers and strategic partners. You can think of me as Civic’s chief cheerleader."

When he's not working, Smith enjoys spending time with his wife of 38 years, his son, daughter and son-in-law.

Dwayne NaylorDwayne Naylor

Dwayne Naylor


"We look forward to having you join us at the start of this journey that will mean so much for the hardworking, dedicated people who make up North Carolina's local government community."

A passionate credit union advocate, Dwayne Naylor has worked in the credit union industry for more than 25 years. His focus on the "triple bottom line" — a sustainable enterprise that delivers economic, social and environmental benefits — is what drives the Civic commitment to people, planet and prosperity.

Naylor earned a Global MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a Bachelor of Science from East Carolina University. He is a 2015 graduate of ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton. He has earned the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation and is a Certified Chief Executive.

Naylor has two children, is married to his best friend, and enjoys reading in his spare time.

Garland AventGarland Avent

Garland Avent


"Civic is excited to serve those who serve North Carolina. As you work tirelessly to smooth the paths of fellow North Carolinians, Civic is prepared and ready to smooth your financial path. We are here for you!"

Garland Avent is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Civic Federal Credit Union. As CFO, Avent is responsible for oversight of the Finance and Accounting functions of Civic. He also participates in the development of the Credit Union's annual financial plan, leads the Asset-Liability Management Committee efforts, and functions as the primary regulatory contact at Civic.

Avent has a Bachelor of Business Administration from North Carolina Central University, is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner®, holds several insurance licenses and previously held five NASD/FINRA licenses.

In his spare time, Avent likes to travel, read and experience new adventures. He resides in Wake Forest with his wife and has three children.

Sherry BearSherry Bear

Sherry Bear

SVP, Operations

"Everything at Civic must be easy to understand and easy to explain. We're trying to take the complications out of banking."

A native North Carolinian, Sherry Bear is a diehard Tarheels fan, "But," she says, "the excitement of watching the Heels is a close second to the excitement I feel about Civic helping our members."

Bear, the senior vice president of operations at Civic, has been in the credit union industry for about 34 years, holds a bachelor's degree in the Science of Industrial Relations and is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Asked about the operations side of Civic, Bear says, "Our staff is enthusiastic about developing products and services that will benefit members in their everyday lives. And we support the backbone of the organization to make sure transactions flow timely and error free."

When not working, Bear enjoys reading and traveling with her husband.

Neal ChaloupkaNeal Chaloupka

Neal Chaloupka

SVP, Lending

"We have the ability to build exactly what the members have asked for."

As the senior vice president of lending, Neal Chaloupka says his team's focus has been to develop great financial products for consumers, businesses and nonprofits.

"All our products are designed to maximize value for our members. In particular, Civic offers complete small business services for members who have been overlooked or underserved."

Chaloupka notes that Civic is a unique Credit Union built to meet the needs of members who want a digital-first experience.

"Members never need to go into a branch, but our help is just a phone call, a chat session, or an email away. We support members based on what they need."

A financial services professional for more than 25 years, Chaloupka has an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and earned his master's degree from Nova Southeastern University.

He is married and enjoys traveling in his free time.

Lamar HeywardLamar Heyward

Lamar Heyward

SVP, Marketing

"The vibe at Civic is like nothing I've felt before. The response from our members, the commitment of our staff and the possibilities that greet us every day — it all just inspires me."

Lamar Heyward has more than 25 years' experience in marketing, 15 of which have been in the credit union industry. He says his background in marketing, innovation and strategy culminate in his role at the helm of the Marketing Department at Civic.

Heyward says his participation in the highly-regarded Filene i3 program for innovation has helped him develop many of the marketing themes behind Civic.

"The i3 program is a framework for thinking, for forming those 'what if' ideas that seem almost inconceivable — and then trying to work them through to implementation."

Heyward notes that his daily motivation kicks up a few notches when he and his team define ideas that will help Civic members.

"We built a Credit Union with products and services that members labeled as 'needs,' 'wants' and 'love-to-haves.' As former NFL coach Jimmie Johnson says, 'The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.'"

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Heyward earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis on digital media from North Carolina State University.

Heyward enjoys spending time with his family.

Terry PhelpsTerry Phelps

Terry W. Phelps Jr.

SVP, Managed Information Systems

"Caring for our members' data is something we take very seriously."

Terry Phelps has more than 25 years' professional experience in Information Technology and Security, and also served seven years' active duty in the United States Army. He is a graduate of the UNC School of Government Certified Government Chief Information Officer Certification Program (CGCIO) and the UNC Executive Development Institute. In addition, Phelps holds a Master Certificate in Information Security Management and Assurance from Villanova University, and a Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expert (CUERME) designation from Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Risk Management Institute.

Phelps is excited about the possibilities at Civic, especially the "R & R" — rewards and rates. But what gets him up in the morning?

"I'm motivated by my team every day. They truly want to build something great to help our members succeed. Their passion and dedication aren’t always noted because they work behind the scenes, but they’re inspiring."

Phelps has one son and is married. When not working, he enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with his family and “very human” pit bull, Bailey.

Michael SpinkMichael Spink

Michael Spink

SVP, Research & Development

"People want, and need, Civic. And we're building it with them."

As the Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Michael Spink sees things differently than many other people.

Ask Spink about his job and the South Jersey native will tell you, "I connect things. People, systems, information, observations, organizations. And I look for things — to better identify problems, find answers to new and old questions, and to harness the power of collaboration and the value to the end user."

Employed in the credit union industry for 15 years, Spink says what he loves about Civic is the technology and the Credit Union’s approach, which mirror the industry's commitment to "people, not profit." Spink says that philosophy gets him out of bed in the morning — and early.

With an Associate degree in Journalism from Burlington County College, a bachelor's degree in Communications/Public Relations from Rowan University, and a Graduate Certificate in Strategic Foresight from the University of Houston, Spink says he loves learning and is ever curious.

When he's not working, you'll find Spink spending time with his wife and daughters or perhaps hiking or camping — or just pursuing the latest object of his curiosity.

Pete VanGraafeilandPete VanGraafeiland

Pete VanGraafeiland

SVP, Member Services

"The entire Civic staff, as well as our members, are all part of an initiative to trailblaze the future of financial services."

As a 20-year veteran of the credit union industry, Pete VanGraafeiland received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a management concentration from Elon University, and earned a master's degree in Corporate Finance from Campbell University. He is also a Credit Union Certified Executive.

VanGraafeiland says the member services team, "has the privilege of interacting and assisting our members with any of their financial needs."

VanGraafeiland is married and has three young sons. He enjoys playing tennis and golf, and spending time with his family.