Keeping it Local
From the very beginning of her career with credit unions, Sue DeStephano, president/CEO of First Capital Federal Credit Union, knew that she was in the right place.
“I love everything about the ‘people helping people’ credit union philosophy,” she said. “I believe you should do what you like and like what you do … a great way to describe my professional work experience at First Capital.”
Having been appointed president/CEO in January of this year, this York native began her career in the credit union industry in 1989 for York Tracktown Credit Union.
“We merged into First Capital in 1999,” she said. “I have worn a lot of hats through the years.”
She has worked as a loan officer, a loan manager, VP of lending, VP of operations, and now her current position as president/CEO.
“Lending has and always will be my favorite job,” she said.
First Capital is a local credit union, the largest based in York, and decisions are made “at home” in York County.
“I love that we are a local credit union,” DeStephano said. “I look forward to coming to work every day and am surrounded by some really great people … We love to make loans and provide exceptional customer service.”
It isn’t all sunshine and roses, of course, and for DeStephano, the least favorite part of her work within the credit union industry is when it comes to dealing with collections situations.
“I realize that collections is another part of the business, but I hate hearing sad stories when our members are experiencing financial hardship because of job loss, divorce, illness, etc. We try to help our members in any way we can … in fact, we actually call our collections team ‘loan counselors’ instead of ‘collectors.’”
Another challenging and not very exciting part of her job is dealing with compliance and changing regulations, although it is a necessary component for a successful institution. For DeStephano, offering “competitive products and great marketing promotions that make our members happy are the most important things to me!”
As a woman working in the field of finance, DeStephano said she’s never felt that her gender was a hindrance.
“My approach has always been to work hard, find ways to stay motivated, and always have a positive attitude,” she said. “Make it fun! Be a team player and be fair.”
A great believer in giving back and being engaged in her local community, DeStephano is pleased to work with other members of the First Capital Team in participating in the United Way Day of Giving each year and also the United Way Campaign. They are also active with Junior Achievement and Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania.
“There are additional charities that we are involved with, but one that is especially near and dear to my heart is Mack Madness,” DeStephano said.
Mack Madness is an annual fundraising event in memory and honor of McKenzie Marie Schneider, who passed away from RSV and leukemia in 2009. All proceeds raised from the event are donated to various charities. DeStephano is proud to have served on the board of Mack Madness since 2008.
A career in the world of finance may seem intimidating to some women, but DeStephano has thoroughly enjoyed her experiences. No matter what career a woman might be considering, she advises that you “make sure you find a job that you enjoy. I personally really enjoy coming to work every day, and my coworkers are like family to me.”
But she also emphasizes the important of keeping priorities straight.
“Be true to yourself, and always have a life/work balance.”
When asked what she has learned about herself along her career path, DeStephano was quick to point out the value of lifelong learning.
“Never stop learning. I just graduated from the Credit Union Executive Society’s DEO Institute, which taught me so much and has inspired me in so many ways,” she said. “Every day I learn something new … and you need to surround yourself with really great people.” BW