For summer interns at Pentagon FCU (PenFed), the first of 8 weekly lunch-and-learn sessions focused credit unions’ unique structure and how they differ from banks.
“All of you are savvy consumers, so you understand the banking business model--bank CEOs need to maximize profits for their shareholders which means they are incentivized to pay their customers less on deposits and charge more on loans,” PenFed President/CEO James Schenck told 13 summer interns.
While the bank business model benefits investors, credit unions, in contrast, pay back members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings.
“As a credit union CEO, my mission is to pay the most I can on deposits and charge the least on our loans to our member owners,” Schenck said. “Credit unions exist to maximize value to their members, not a group of profit-seeking investors.”
The summer program--fostered by Schenck’s visit to PenFed’s educational branch at Junior Achievement Finance Park, Landover, Md.--offers 18 interns an opportunity to work with and learn from leaders at the Alexandria, Va.-based credit union. The participation of the U.S. Army servicemember with 22 years of service is through a special pilot program for wounded military personnel.
Rocky Mitchell, executive vice president of global fixed assets, talked with the interns about the importance of culture within any organization.
Crystal Eley, a second-year student from Hampton University who was assigned to the human resources, said, “My biggest takeaway from today is that PenFed really believes in helping people. The culture is also diverse, upbeat and welcoming--it feels like a family here.”