At tabling events on campus, GUASFCU members describe services and benefits to students.
Category: Campus & Community, Georgetown Magazine, Spring 2022

Title:Where credit connects with cura personalis

Would it surprise you to know that Georgetown hosts a banking and financial services institution that is federally recognized and guaranteed by the National Credit Union Administration? And that this institution, which services more than 750 loans offered at below market rates, just capped off its most successful year ever with a $5.5 million loan portfolio and $20 million in peak assets, and is presided over by an undergraduate government major with no prior finance or business experience?

Dylan Rothschild (C’22), chairman of the board and chief lending officer of the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Financial Credit Union (GUASFCU), maintains he is not unique. “We recruit from all corners of campus—not just business and finance. Our interns go on to careers in medicine, teaching, government, technology, and the nonprofit sector, as well as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.” After graduation, he will be starting his own career at Google, working to help the company hone its user pri- vacy policy and fight fraud and abuse.

GUASFCU is staffed and operated entirely by undergraduate students, who start out as tellers and advance into roles in market- ing, bookkeeping, underwriting, and management, while learning the nuances of financial literacy. Rothschild credits the experience “1000 percent” for giving him a leg up in marketing himself for the career he wanted. “We get hands-on experience honing our communication and cooperation skills, managing peers, and understanding what makes a good leader.”

Grounded in Jesuit values like cura personalis, GUASFCU views loan applications in a holistic way, in hopes of providing access to people who might be turned down by other financial institutions. Most students have little or no credit experience, and what they have may not be the best. “We understand that a lot of people have had financial difficulties in the past. We work with them when another institution might just say ‘no,’” Rothschild says.

“We know our community members are doing their best to move into a financially responsible situation, and we want to be that bridge for them.”

In addition to offering budgeting and credit workshops, GUAS- FCU promotes financial literacy through a unique product called the Credit Builder, issuing a secured loan to any student, alumnus/a, or family member, which is then paid off in their name in order to establish or boost their credit history. Members who have opened Credit Builders with no prior credit history have seen scores rise to the 700s. That can make a profound difference in their ability to rent an apartment or even get a job.

GUASFCU also makes auto and unsecured loans, provides free access to 55,000 ATMS, and even issues rewards program debit cards offering discounts at local businesses. “As a nonprofit business, our utmost goal is to make an impact on the financial lives of all members of the Georgetown community,” says Rothschild.

“We are people with a lot of different passions, united by a shared passion for the Georgetown community. At the end of the day, that’s what drives our mission.”

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