By Joanna Nellans

After growing up in the Prescott Valley region, Meredith Dunlap made a conscious decision to stay and help it continue to flourish through her leadership in banking and volunteer work.

Meredith graduated from Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley. She looked forward to moving away and attending college; however, “even out of high school, when I wanted to leave, something always kept me here,” she relates. “In hindsight I know why: because I was meant to be here.”

She earned multiple degrees at Yavapai College in marketing and accounting, then set to work in the banking industry. She said she works at National Bank of Arizona because, although it’s part of a larger banking organization, it places a strong emphasis on its local connections.

“It really emphasizes and supports interactions with community and businesses,” Dunlap says.

As an example of this local commitment, National Bank of Arizona helped 602 businesses in Yavapai County obtain $42.7 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help save 5,538 jobs from the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19. While other larger banks prioritized larger PPP loans in favor of larger fees, more than 70 percent of all National Bank of Arizona loans were made to businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

As Senior Vice President and Northern Arizona Regional Manager, 19 branch managers throughout the northern half of Arizona report to Dunlap. American Banker recently chose National Bank of Arizona parent company Zions Bancorporation, N.A. as one of the five top teams in its “Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance” program. Meredith was selected as one of the members of the Top Women’s Teams. “Her passion lies in learning, coaching and leading her National Bank of Arizona team to cultivate a culture of caring,” American Banker wrote.

That culture of caring includes encouraging employees to volunteer in their communities. Dunlap serves on the boards of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Yavapai County, and participates in financial literacy training for teenagers and young adults. National Bank of Arizona also is a member of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation, to help foster its mission of attracting diverse new businesses to the region.

“The PV Economic Development Foundation is focused on partnerships and bringing new partners to the community. When I think about the bank, that’s what we do too,” Dunlap says.

“Community leaders like Meredith and the institution she represents are what makes this region a strong and crucial component in the overall structure when attracting new industry into the area,” says Mike R. Paredes, Executive Director of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation.

A strong believer in lifelong learning, Dunlap earned a bachelor’s in public administration from Northern Arizona University in 2018, and now she’s working on her master’s in public administration to help her bank better serve its local government clients.

“It’s an opportunity to establish closer relationships with community leaders and, in my opinion, truly be a community bank,” Dunlap explains.