Student Credit Union Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 05:02
Thirty years after its founding Feb. 9, 1983, the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union now holds approximately $17.9 million in assets.
In recognition of its anniversary, GUASFCU held a celebration to foster alumni-student relationships Friday and Saturday. The events, exclusive to current and former employees, included a variety of panels featuring current executives, founding members and alumni as well as an evening networking session.
“In the past 30 years, GUASFCU has become a Georgetown tradition as the main banking institution for university students and alumni,” current CEO Nikhil Lakhanpal (MSB ’13) said. “There has also been a linear progression in membership and alumni retention, which is only cementing our presence on campus further.”
The anniversary comes two weeks before the organization transitions to a new board of directors March 1.
Lakhanpal said he was confident in the newly appointed board, which he believes is committed to furthering the bank’s initiative to increase member accessibility and to build on this year’s legacy which included a recently launched mobile app, a new ATM in the Walsh Building and a planned ATM in Hoya Snaxa.
“The current board of directors had to choose from a very talented pool,” Lakhanpal said. “These positions require not only an advanced grasp on the day to day operations, but an ability to think strategically about the future of GUASFCU not one or two years down the road but another 30.”
Lakhanpal said that during his term, he focused on collaboration and relationship development with the university administration.
“We’re fortunate enough to have built a very strong support base,” Lakhanpal said.
Incoming CEO Christopher Kelly (COL ’14) agreed and said that he hoped to continue building these ties.
“While day-to-day operations are key in our success, I’m looking to shift the focus toward the continuation of our collaborative efforts with the university,” Kelly said.
However, the relationship with the university has not always been amiable. When a summer intern discovered the construction of a Chevy Chase Bank — what is today the Capital One Bank branch — in Leavey Center in fall 2008, tensions rose between GUASFCU and the administration.
Kelly and Lakhanpal said that the credit union has adapted to having a competitor present on campus and is focused on the strategic advantages of prioritizing alumni outreach.
“One of our biggest concerns is getting the alumni population as involved as possible, which is tied closely to our ongoing mission to make member service for students as effective as possible,” Kelly said.
Lakhanpal and Kelly both stressed the importance of giving back to the university community. One active initiative is the Common Sense workshop series, which, in partnership with the university’s Office of Student Financial Services, provides information to help students manage and plan their finances.
“We want to reinvest in Georgetown and build our role as a force of good on campus,” Kelly said. “In the recent flourishing of … the Common Sense workshops, we’ve been able to leverage our knowledge as well as bring in outside speakers to help students expand their financial literacy.”
In addition to significant growth in overall assets, GUASFCU has also strengthened its loan program. According to Kelly, there has been a 50 percent increase in auto loan disbursal year over year as a result of a strategic adjustment in interest rates.
Lakhanpal said he hoped that with these efforts, GUASFCU will continue to succeed despite the disadvantage of having only one branch.
“The main overall goal will continue to be convenience, student accessibility and positive reinvestment in our community,” Kelly added. “Nikhil has been excellent in fulfilling all three of those, and GUASFCU has seen tangible and significant progress under his leadership.”