Press Release

Nation’s Only Student Run Ivy League Credit Union Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Credit union has provided invaluable learning experience for  more than 4,000 students and financial services for thousands

(PHILADELPHIA, October 6, 2022) The nation’s only student-run credit union in the Ivy League is celebrating its 35th anniversary, signifying a major milestone in providing thousands of students at the University of Pennsylvania secure, efficient, and convenient financial services.

Founded in 1987 by three Wharton MBA students, Kenneth Beck, Steven Feld, and Robert Kaplan, the Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania (UPSFCU), has offered students a fully functional and federally insured credit union. The students were inspired to create the credit union after reading a New York Times article that discussed the boom of student-run institutions. The experience enabled the students to manage a financial institution with more than $8 million in assets.

“Thanks to the support of the Penn and Wharton administration, faculty, and staff and credit union industry officials, the student credit union has been able to provide a phenomenal learning experience and great banking services to thousands of students,” said Beck, CEO of CEO Connection.

Beck continued, “When we started the credit union, we were creating a unique educational opportunity to apply what we learned in class to managing a real financial institution while in college. We didn’t realize the impact it would have on so many lives and the university as a whole. It’s our pleasure to recognize these remarkable students and the stunning achievements that can occur at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Members of the credit union’s board of directors, UPenn trustees, faculty, administrators, and the CrossState Credit Union Association will join federal, state and local government officials, representatives of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and local business leaders to celebrate the founding of the University of Pennsylvania Student Federal Credit Union on International Credit Union Day, October 20th at the Inn at Penn in Philadelphia.

Beck explained that the credit union is located right down the block from the Inn at Penn but it will be moving. “The school has been so helpful over the years,” Beck said. “We are hoping that they are able to find space for the credit union back in Houston Hall – where it started – or somewhere on Locust Walk where it will be even more accessible for all of the student account holders and volunteers it serves.”

The not-for-profit UPSFCU offers students a full range of services, with much of its work geared toward assisting international and first-generation, low-income (FGLI) students navigate a banking system that often feels foreign.

Since personal finance is not generally taught in school, the credit union promotes financial literacy for its classmate clients, said Yomi Abdi, Wharton sophomore and a general ledger committee member at the credit union.

“Financial wellness is a crucial part of the SFCU’s mission,” she said. “We’ve partnered with Zogo, an app that pays students to complete educational modules on personal finance. One of our most popular products, the credit builder, is centered around teaching students the importance of their credit score.”

Michelle Xu, Wharton senior and CEO of UPSFCU, added, “Our dedication to member satisfaction will ensure that students receive hassle-free, quality banking at a low cost. We strive to make banking a pleasure and look forward to serving all Penn students throughout their time at the university and beyond.”

For media interviews with Beck, contact Neil Foote, media relations, Ascendant Group Branding, [email protected], 214.448.3765.


About the Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania

The Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania is an independently operated financial institution, and not part of the University of Pennsylvania. Deposits are federally insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).


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