James Schenck

PenFed President/CEO James Schenck named 2017 CU Hero of the Year

‘There is no industry more noble or that does more good than America’s credit unions.’

May 10, 2017

CUNA Credit Union Magazine announced today that James Schenck, President and CEO of PenFed Credit Union, will be honored as the 2017 Credit Union Hero of the Year. Schenck believes wholeheartedly in the cooperative spirit of the credit union movement.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition on behalf of the 2,500 employees at PenFed,” said Schenck. “PenFed employees are the true heroes who are making a positive difference in the financial lives of our members every day—and who selflessly volunteer their time and resources to lead in their respective communities throughout the year. At PenFed, we are proud and honored to support the brave men and women who volunteer to fight and win our nation's wars, our local communities, and the credit union community at large. There is no industry more noble or that does more good than America's credit unions, and there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than joining together and helping others Do Better.”

Since becoming CEO in April of 2014, Schenck has led PenFed’s asset growth from $17.6 billion to over $22.5 billion. A true believer in leading by example, he has expanded the reach and impact of the PenFed Foundation to address unmet needs facing our nation’s Veterans, active military and their families. One of its hallmark programs was raising funds to help the PenFed Foundation build the Defenders Lodge in Palo Alto, Calif., for former military personnel going to the Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Since it opened three years ago, the lodge has provided more than 75,000 bed nights at no cost to Veterans of all wars.

“The hallmark of James Schenck’s career is his dedication to serving his members, employees, and communities. That’s why we’re pleased to honor him as our 10th annual Credit Union Hero of the Year,” said Ann Hayes Peterson, CUNA’s Vice President of Publishing and CUNA Credit Union Magazine’s Editor in Chief.

Sponsored by CSCU, the Credit Union Hero of the Year award recognizes those who serve as examples for the entire movement through their service, advocacy, and commitment to credit union ideals. CUNA Credit Union Magazine readers selected Schenck to win the award through an online vote at

“CSCU is proud to sponsor the 2017 Credit Union Hero of the Year Award. Congratulations to the winner, James Schenck, and the other nominees, who have all made major contributions to their communities,” said Bob Hackney, CSCU’s President. “We applaud his commitment to service, improving members’ lives financially, and truly making a difference for the less fortunate in the credit union community.”

Other Credit Union Hero of the Year finalists were Amy Nelson, Point West Credit Union, Portland, Ore.; Dan Newberry, TTCU The Credit Union, Tulsa, Okla.; and Karen Reams, Millstream Area Credit Union, Findlay, Ohio.

Schenck will be recognized during a presentation at the America’s Credit Union Conference, June 25-28 in Las Vegas.