McDonough School of Business
McDonough School of Business
News Story

Landing the Interview: Banking on Students for the Student Federal Credit Union 

Daniela Delgado (B’25), vice president of operations at the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union (GUASFCU), recently connected with Doug Shattuck (B’84), chief financial officer of Technical Toolboxes, to discuss their shared experience as interns of the credit union—dating back to its origins in 1983 and to its success today as world’s largest, oldest, and entirely student-run bank. 

Can you tell me about your journey as one of the early members of the credit union? 

A group of us, including Alyce Russo (C’84), Kyle Stevenson (SFS’84), Len Schoppa (SFS’84), wanted to create a better banking option for Georgetown students, but we were starting from zero trying to figure things out. We needed a physical location, a charter, and seed money.

Georgetown gave us space in an old building—long since torn down—but it couldn’t hold a safe because it was too rickety, so we kept all of our money at the bank; the same bank we were competing with. We didn’t have any capital, so we all met with George Houston, the former treasurer at Georgetown. We sat in his office, and he asked us, “Well, what do you want?” And we said, “A hundred thousand bucks.” He said, “Okay, what are you going to pay me?” We paid him a percent less than we were earning from the bank. That was our operating budget.

We had no desks, and we had no pens or paper or any supplies. Being the entrepreneurial spirit, I called the big eight accounting firms (I was an accounting major), and Deloitte came through! They gave us desks, chairs, adding machines and ledger paper. We got a charter and we worked on that, and we spent some time with the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). Our marketing plan included putting a flyer in the freshman mailer. This was really successful. The freshmen arrived on campus in the fall of 1983 with their parents, who gave them their money to put in the credit union. 

Did you have a specific vision or aspirations for what the credit union would become? 

A lot of our aspirations came from Alyce’s experience at the University of Massachusetts, which, at the time, had a student-run credit union. We wanted a place where students could bank and not be charged high monthly fees, and we wanted to give students the opportunity to build credit, get car loans, and even receive tuition loans at a low cost. I think we articulated that vision fairly well, but there was so much day-to-day work—we knew we had to get chartered and needed the infrastructure in place to be able to support the growth. We got the credit union to a decent point and then, we graduated. 

Did you see the vision realized when you came back and heard more about how things have been running at the credit union recently? 

Yes! Mike McAuley (B’84), who led our marketing for the credit union, sent me a clip from American Banker 20 years ago saying that the most sought-after internship in America for banking is the Georgetown University Credit Union. Unbelievable! Then I visited campus and I found the credit union, and thought, “Oh wow, this is real.” 

I know the credit union has helped me a ton professionally, so how did it contribute to your professional growth? 

The entrepreneurial spirit of the credit union really set the tone for my career, which has been about working for entrepreneurial organizations. I enjoy working for smaller companies that are growing because there is a real opportunity to make a difference. A majority of my career has been spent working with—either as a founder, an early team member or a consultant—start-up organizations, and the experiences I gained as a founding member of GUSFCU have served me well. 

What advice would you give to current or future credit union members interested in contributing to its continued growth and success? 

Commit and roll with the punches because it’s going to be a learning experience. This is not book learning. Learning how to solve problems is important. Treat this experience as an opportunity to learn as much as you will learn in your classes. Your coursework provides the building blocks, and then the credit union will be the dome over it, and it’ll seep into all the cracks, and it will pull everything together.

This story was originally featured in the Georgetown Business Fall 2023 Magazine.

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