|NIHFCU CEO Rick Wieczorek
Rick Wieczorek has joined the NIH Federal Credit Union (NIHFCU) as its newly appointed chief executive officer.
With over 30 years of experience in the credit union industry, Wieczorek (Wiz-OAR-ek) previously held senior leadership positions with Northwest Federal Credit Union in Northern Virginia, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Credit Union and the Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union.
“I’m very passionate about credit unions because of what they represent,” he said. “They are not-for-profit and were created in 1934 during the Great Depression to make credit available and promote thrift throughout a national system of democratically run cooperatives.”
Since 1940, NIH-FCU has served NIH employees and their families. With 9 branches and more than 40,000 members, it expanded its charter in 2010 to offer membership eligibility to employees, contractors and self-employed workers in the biomedical and health care industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.
Wieczorek joins NIHFCU to spearhead strategy across its portfolio of products and services. On Aug. 22-24, the credit union moved its core system to a new data center with enhanced infrastructure and support. Also in the pipeline are projects to reduce the time it takes to approve loans and enhanced access of accounts using smartphone technology. Earlier in August, NIHFCU opened a new branch at the NIAID Bldg. on Fishers Ln. in Rockville, providing additional banking convenience for the NIH workforce in this location.
“I’ve always had a natural interest in medicine,” Wieczorek says. “And there’s a scientific, methodical approach for looking at finance.”
There’s also a philosophical approach for looking at finance.
“A bank’s goal is to increase the wealth of its investors; the shareholders own the bank. A credit union’s charter, on the other hand, is designed to return the bulk (although not all) of its profits to the members.” The remaining profits are retained to help weather challenging economic times such as the recent recession.
“When you become an NIHFCU member—with an initial deposit of $25— you also become an owner,” Wieczorek explains. “We want to make sure the NIH-FCU is there when our members need us, to be a stronger presence on campus, to make it easier to get loans and other services.”
When he first met the NIHFCU board of directors, he says, “I was impressed by how much they care and the amount of time they volunteered to the credit union…It is this type of commitment that has enabled our industry to exist over the past 80 years.
“I want to make sure we create a feeling that this truly is the members’ credit union, that they can trust us. This is our social currency. If you haven’t used the credit union yet, check it out.”
For more information on membership products and services, visit www.nihfcu.org.—Belle Waring