In a Nutshell: Credit unions have played an important role for individuals and communities in the U.S. since the early part of the 20th century. And PSECU has been serving Pennsylvania for much of that time. The credit union prioritizes the financial health of its members through a full range of products and services, including those designed for members who have made past financial mistakes. PSECU also promotes financial literacy via an array of initiatives, including its own WalletWorks program. The credit union also demonstrates community support through fundraising, sponsoring events, monetary contributions, and volunteerism.
Credit unions began popping up in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century as a member-owned, nonprofit counterpart to commercial banks. They also focused on providing quality customer service and offered competitive rates — two attributes that remain true to this day.
In Pennsylvania, PSECU has been carrying out the credit union motto of people helping people for nearly a century.
“PSECU was opened more than 85 years ago, when 22 Commonwealth employees made an extraordinary commitment to each other: to create a financial institution where collective resources benefit all members,” PSECU President and CEO George Rudolph told us.
Those 22 employees pooled together just $90 to establish the credit union.
“Since then, we’ve continued to grow and expand our eligible member groups,” Rudolph said. “Today, we proudly serve as Pennsylvania’s largest credit union with more than 475,000 members and over $7 billion in assets.”
He said that, while PSECU maintains two branch locations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the credit union focuses on a digital-first model that harnesses the power of technology to allow members to manage their finances anytime, anywhere through its online and mobile platforms.
“We’re pleased to share that as a result of our members’ satisfaction and positive feedback, PSECU has been named a Best-In-State Credit Union by Forbes Magazine for a second consecutive year,” Rudolph said.
Offering Products and Services to Help Members Improve Their Financial Health
With financial security weighing heavily on the minds of many U.S. residents, Rudolph weighed in on how PSECU works to ensure that its members have access to products and services that support their financial health.
“We at PSECU understand that the financial well-being of each member — and the greater community — is important to our collective well-being as a member-owned financial cooperative, and we make it a priority to help individuals gain the understanding and tools they need to build their money-management skills and achieve their financial goals,” Rudolph said.
The credit union offers the modern-day financial services one would expect from an institution that focuses on the consumer’s digital experience. But it also provides valuable products and resources for those who may be working to move away from past financial mistakes.
“For members who do not qualify for our Classic Card or our cash rewards Founder’s Card, our share-secured Visa® credit card is a good option for building credit by paying off balances in a timely manner,” Rudolph said. “For our student members, we also offer a Student Line of Credit as a credit-building tool.”
The organization also offers a wide range of loans to suit its members’ unique financial needs, including its flexible personal loans.
“Here at PSECU, we call our personal loans Signature Loans. They are a fast, convenient, and affordable way to borrow money,” according to the website. “Everyone needs flexible cash flow sometimes. We understand. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, looking to consolidate higher-interest debt, making home improvements, medical expenses, or home renovations, a signature loan can help.”
Rudolph said PSECU also offers a free monthly credit score service to its members, allowing them to stay aware of their current credit level and monitor it as they work to make improvements.
“Gotchas like hidden fees aren’t our thing,” according to PSECU. “Instead, we’re into gimmes like free checking and surcharge-free ATMs plus rebates, as well as little extras you’ll put to good use — like free credit score service and discounts on TurboTax®, T-Mobile and SimpliSafe™.”
Delivering a Range of Financial Literacy Resources
“We also focus heavily on providing our members and non-members alike with high-quality financial education resources so they can learn to best manage their finances and keep more of their money where it belongs — with them,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph pointed out that PSECU’s blog post, “Can a Credit Union Help You Get Your Finances Back on Track?” helps explain some of the ways PSECU and other credit unions can support the needs of members who are interested in improving their overall financial standing.
“PSECU believes that the more financial know-how you have, the better you’ll be able to manage your money,” he said. “That’s why we created our own financial education program — WalletWorks — to share with members and non-members alike.”
Through this program, the credit union tailors the information it presents so it’s appropriate for the specific audience, whether it’s college students on campus, employees in their workplace, or community members at one of their events, Rudolph explained.
“Responding to a growing need from consumers seeking financial tips, tools, and resources in easy-to-use, digital formats, we expanded our WalletWorks program in 2020 to include a new Online Learning Center, which offers a robust library of learning topics around important personal financial education concepts, including budgeting, investing, homeownership, and retirement planning,” he said.
This interactive financial education platform is designed to provide consumers with the tools and personalized knowledge necessary to make informed financial decisions. It is available in English and Spanish.
“Over the past few months, we’ve also started hosting monthly live webinars on a series of financial education topics,” Rudolph said. “These events are free and open to anyone who would like to join. To learn more about upcoming webinars and how to register, we invite the community to follow us on social media.”
Rudolph also emphasized the importance of preventative education.
“Of course, the best way to fix bad credit is to avoid it — and that’s exactly what we are trying to help people do with our financial education offerings, which thanks to our digital-first model we’ve been able to continue offering even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Serving as a Positive Force in the Community
At PSECU, it’s not just about taking care of its members, Rudolph said. Helping to take care of the communities it serves is also a huge priority.
“PSECU strives to follow the people helping people credit union philosophy,” Rudolph said. “That means that, in addition to offering our members high-quality products and services, we also work to support the well-being of our communities through corporate donations and sponsorships.”
The credit union’s extensive financial education resources, many of which are available to the community at large falls into this category as well.
Rudolph said PSECU also encourages its 800-plus employees across Pennsylvania to engage in volunteer efforts.
He mentioned several recent community-oriented initiatives that stand out.
“We provided more than 370,000 meals for those in need through our support of a Hunger Action Month virtual food drive,” he said. “And we contributed $10,000 to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to fight food insecurity during the holiday season.”
And despite being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSECU Chips in Golf Outing still managed to raise $40,000 for Feeding Pennsylvania.
“Our generous employees also helped raise more than $12,000 to support the American Red Cross as part of an internal giving campaign,” Rudolph said. “For additional information on PSECU’s commitment to the community, please see our most recent Year In Review document or visit our newsroom.”
As the credit union continues to move forward, its vision is to be recognized by its members as a trusted financial partner, Rudolph said. To do this, PSECU’s financial education efforts coupled with its support of local communities will play an integral role, he said.
“We’ll also work to continue offering our members the best technology possible to help manage their finances anytime, anywhere,” Rudolph said in closing. “For example, over the next few months, we plan to launch a completely new online banking experience for our members.”