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John Cotner, 2019 Excellence in Finance

John Cotner

Chief lending officer,

Icon Credit Union

Photo by Pete Grady.

Soon after the Great Recession began, John Cotner helped launch a program that changed the lives of Icon Credit Union members.

The Second Chance Mortgage Lending program provided mortgage options for members who couldn’t qualify for traditional financing because of foreclosures and short sales. Under the initiative, Icon has made in excess of $23 million in real estate loans, helping more than 2,300 people.

The loans, which are serviced locally by the credit union, were structured to reduce the risk for Icon, according to Cotner.

The program was successful and is still being offered.

“We haven’t lost a dime in that portfolio,” said Cotner, Icon’s chief lending officer. “It’s really gratifying to help somebody.”

Cotner’s professional life has been guided by the motto of service organization Rotary International, “Service Above Self.”

Other initiatives led by Cotner include lending programs that give members access to competitive banking and credit products. As part of the First Time Auto Buyer program, people with minimal or no credit history may buy a reasonably priced vehicle without a cosigner.

Cotner also worked with the Idaho Youth Ranch and Catholic Charities to teach refugees and homeless people employed by the two organizations about responsible banking practices.

In addition, Cotner played a key role in obtaining a Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designation for Icon, which signifies that a credit union is committed to serving Hispanic consumers.

Cotner, 47, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana and is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington. From 2001 to 2009, he worked at Mountain West Bank in Boise, where he was vice president and regional mortgage banking manager. From there, he went to Icon.

Cotner has honed his skills in credit administration, mortgage banking, small business banking, retail banking and other disciplines. One of his passions is mentoring employees to perform at higher levels.

Connie Miller, Icon president and CEO, notes in a letter of recommendation that Icon was recently designated as the no. 7 healthiest credit union in the country out of more than 5,000.

“This, in part, is the result of John and his team making quality underwriting decisions in the lending area to protect not only Icon, but help our members obtain financing appropriate for the level of income and situation,” Miller writes.

Cotner, who is married and has two children, says the Service Above Self philosophy extends to his personal life and how he raises his family. Outside the office, he teaches children and adults with disabilities to ski as a volunteer instructor with Recreation Unlimited at Bogus Basin and serves on the Treasure Valley Family YMCA board.

The organization’s president and CEO, David Duro, says in a recommendation letter that he appreciates Cotner for his professional expertise and the time he takes telling YMCA’s story to raise donations. “He is truly a champion for others,” Duro says.

The digital version of Excellence in Finance 2020 is available for free download.

About Pamela Manson