By Brian Li (V)

The Pingry Credit Union is a student-founded and student-run club that aims to increase and promote financial wellness throughout the Pingry community. As Club President Jason Lefkort (VI) describes, “financial wellness” has different meanings for different people – faculty, staff, and parents may interpret it as financial health, while students may define it as “greater financial independence”. 

The original team members hoped to meet these varied needs through a “standalone credit union.” However, upon realizing that this was infeasible, the Pingry Credit Union decided to partner with Affinity Federal Credit Union to offer its services to the community. This would allow them to cater to the Pingry community in its entirety.

In a few weeks, the Pingry Credit Union will officially launch its services and go live with their signup webpage, providing the community an opportunity to register for an account and engage with the Credit Union’s services.

When a Pingry community member makes a credit union account, he or she will receive a variety of the benefits that come with a typical credit union. Where banks primarily try to profit off of customers, a credit union works for the individual by redistributing profits to its members. Other benefits include lower loan rates and higher savings rates. The student-led Pingry Credit Union team is also offering specialized merchandise, discounts to local businesses, raffles for amazing products, and even more! 

As for the team’s main goals for this school year, Lefkort said spreading “greater awareness throughout the Pingry community is a priority.” The team hopes to have more people understand what the Pingry Credit Union is and what it has to offer. They also aim to expand financial wellness, and ultimately, have it play a “significant role in the Pingry experience.” 

During COVID-19, the Pingry Credit Union was forced to reshape its future plans. The official launch would have directly involved people on the Pingry campus with a launch party, but that was infeasible for this year. Discount cards also posed a challenge at first, as the standard process of contacting local businesses could no longer be followed, but the team was able to pivot and successfully connect with businesses remotely. 

Furthermore, in past years the group’s partnership with Affinity Federal Credit Union has provided Pingry students with internship opportunities that did not require a separate application process. This was also halted during the pandemic; however, the Pingry Credit Union hopes to begin offering internships again in the near future. 

Led by Lefkort, Co-Vice Presidents Julian Lee (VI) and Justin Li (VI), and faculty advisor Mr. David Rushforth, the Pingry Credit Union is looking forward to a successful launch this year, and hopes to see a rapid increase in financial wellness within the Pingry community.