The Native Village of Unalakleet
North to the Future
When you think of business banking, what comes to mind? An up-and-coming startup trying to get off the ground? A medical office that needs funding for its newest practice? A landlord setting up an escrow account to collect rent?
For Tracy Cooper, general manager of the Native Village of Unalakleet, business banking means taking care of an entire community.
Serving community proactively
A village of roughly 750 people tucked away in Western Alaska, Unalakleet is led by Cooper and the tribal council, known collectively as the Native Village of Unalakleet.
The organization’s mission is to “strengthen and preserve the social, economic, educational and cultural needs of the Native people of Unalakleet.”
“We provide homes for elders and people who experience disabilities, build and maintain multiple facilities for the community, handle transportation projects, and secure funds to improve things that people need,” said Cooper.
“It’s a lot of work, but we’re happy to do it for our community.”
Established in 1934, the council has been proactive in fulfilling its mission.
“Being so isolated, servicing our banking needs can be tough,” said Cooper. “Thankfully, First National Bank Alaska is there to help us at every turn.”
A long-distance relationship
The Native Village of Unalakleet opened its first account with First National 30 years ago, and chose the bank as its sole financial institution in 2010, dissatisfied by the customer service they received elsewhere.
“At First National, you’re not just another person on the call list,” said Cooper.
Last year, Main Branch’s Tyler Voge became the relationship banker for Tracy and the council. Though Voge, based out of downtown Anchorage, and Cooper, who was born-and-raised in Unalakleet, have never met in person, the pair became fast friends after their first phone call.
“We hit it off from the beginning. Tyler is so receptive to our needs, provides good guidance and helps us promptly,” said Cooper. “Our time is valuable, and he really takes care of us.”
Tyler securely manages Unalakleet’s many accounts, remotely communicating through phone and e-mail. He assists with anything from bank transfers and account reviews to signature changes and money
transfers. With Tyler’s help, Unalakleet has been able to move forward with a handful of new projects to better its community, all while modernizing their banking.
“Being able to get things done from such a distance has been a unique and exciting
experience,” said Voge. “It’s amazing that the work I do in downtown Anchorage is affecting business hundreds of miles away.”
e-Statements are a “game changer”
The Native Village of Unalakleet uses a number of First National’s reliable online banking tools, such as Business Online Banking, ONEpay and, a favorite, e-Statements. These services have saved the council time and money, providing Tracy and her team with banking solutions no matter where business takes them.
“e-Statements have been a game changer for us,” said Cooper. “We didn’t think we would be a big fan
at first, but they’ve helped so much.”
e-Statements have allowed Tracy to simplify Unalakleet’s financial recordkeeping. Now, instead of dealing with weather delays and other challenges that come with life in rural Alaska, Tracy can access her monthly statements online with the click of a button.
“Tracy and the Native Village of Unalakleet are always on top of their game,” said Voge. “And by using these features, they’re only helping themselves further succeed.”
Don’t expect Unalakleet’s development to stop anytime soon.
With multiple projects in production and even more on the horizon, Tracy and the tribal council have taken big leaps toward further development. Within the past few years, the village has started construction on a new assisted-living facility for village elders, and is currently looking to use even more of First National’s many online services.
“The future for Unalakleet is bright,” said Cooper.
“With the help of our community and our friends at First National, we’ll continue to move forward.”
Alaska Business Banking Expert
First National Bank Alaska Personal Banker Tyler Voge has built his career on hard work and dedication.
Voge began his First National story in 2014, starting out in the mailroom. From there, he was promoted to a Customer Service Representative position and last year to Personal Banker at First National’s Main Branch.
“I’ve been able to learn and grow so much in my time at First National,” said Voge.
In his role, Voge’s primary goal is to develop and strengthen relationships with customers. From providing information on business loans to informing customers of First National’s vast online and mobile services, Voge delivers financial solutions to meet his customers’ needs.
“I look for opportunities to help businesses operate more efficiently,” Voge said. “I strive to deliver the best customer service possible, and I’m grateful to provide solutions to such a unique and diverse community.”
Equipped with a problem-solving attitude and a passion for success, Voge consistently finds new ways to help Alaskans grow their businesses.
“It’s rewarding to know customers rely on me to take care of them,” said Voge.
The First National difference
Last year, Voge became the relationship banker for the Native Village of Unalakleet. Voge remotely guides the group’s nances, manages accounts, assists with bank transfers and more.
“Whether it’s through voicemail or email, Tyler’s follow-up is amazing,” said Tracy Cooper, general manager of the Native Village of Unalakleet. “The personal banking that Tyler and First National provide helps all of us do our jobs better.”
It’s this attention to detail that makes a difference for Voge’s customers. With his help, Unalakleet has been able to move forward with a handful of new projects to better its community, all while modernizing the council’s banking.
“At First National, we really know and care about Alaska,” said Voge.
“I am passionate about my career, and I am passionate about helping Alaskans.”