Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUASFCU Hits $12.8m Asset Record

The asset value of the 27-year-old Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union reached an all-time high of $12.8 million on April 1, according to CEO Arjun Mehta (SFS ’11).

The bank’s total assets have increased by $2.3 million since March of last year, Mehta said. This March, the total assets of GUASFCU broke the March 2003 record, and then continued to increase, surpassing March’s numbers with the April 1 total.

Credit union officials attributed the rise to high alumni account retention rates and a strong recruitment push for new students at the start of the academic year. Mehta said that in past years, GUASFCU has faced a persistent challenge in retaining alumni, largely because graduates opt for the convenience of their local banks.

Assets at GUASFCU are typically highest during “open accounts” weekends, when credit union staff recruits freshman clients at the start of each academic year, Mehta said. This mid-year high point, Mehta said, is an indicator that more alumni are depositing their bonuses into credit union accounts.

GUASFCU, which currently has 11,000 account holders, has recently been focusing on recruiting international students to open accounts, Mehta said. By allowing clients to open accounts using only GOCards, the credit union has allowed students without social security numbers to establish checking or savings accounts. GUASFCU has also established a global routing code, increasing the speed of international wire transfers.

According to GUASFCU Treasurer Jack Mahoney (MSB ’11), the credit union will also upgrade its two campus ATMs, which are 10 years old, by the end of this semester.

The credit union has amended its Internet-based features to include direct deposit services for employers to compensate employees and electronic money-wiring. The bank is also editing its online banking interface to help increase account retention, Mehta said.

“[Online banking] gives us the ability to service our members as if they were sitting in their dorm room in Harbin,” Mahoney said.

Kevin Atieh (MSB ’11), chief financial officer, said that the credit union focuses on providing more personal service than national competitors. The credit union has been aiming to enhance its member services since Chevy Chase Bank opened a branch in the Leavey Center in 2004, Atieh said. He said he felt GUASFCU provided its account holders with a higher level of customer service.

“We pride ourselves on not putting you on hold for 35 minutes,” Atieh said.

Because the credit union is not-for-profit, it can maintain fees lower than those at commercial banks, according to Chief Operating Officer Ben Stoto (MSB ’11). The credit union’s savings rate – currently at 1 percent – is higher than that of most commercial banks.

Some students choose to bank at the credit union over other commercial banks and are not surprised that it continues to grow.

“I think that reflects the great jobs that the credit union is doing on campus providing services that are targeted toward students,” Anne Kenslea (COL ’13) said. “They know what students want and tailor their services to us, which you wouldn’t get at a national bank.”

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