East Lansing MSU Federal Credit Union started 85 years ago in the desk – Lansing State Journal | Team Cansler

EAST LANSING – MSU Federal Credit Union may have had humble beginnings, initially operating out of a college professor’s desk drawer, but in 85 years it has grown to more than 300,000 members and approximately $7 billion in assets.

Eight college faculty members and staff formed the Michigan State College Employees Credit Union in 1937. They kept the institution’s books and records in a desk drawer in an office on what is now Michigan State University’s campus.

The founders started a business after failing to get credit from a traditional financial institution during the Great Depression, said MSUFCU President and CEO April Clobes, 85th anniversary celebration on Sunday.

“So that’s the essence of the creation of this institution and a lot of what we’re here for today,” she said. “Give people great credit with great service.”

Sparty and Michigan State University's Drum Line entertain members at the MSU Federal Credit Union's 85th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, November 20, 2022.

Headquartered in East Lansing, MSUFCU became the largest university-based credit union in the world in 2003 and the 73rd largest credit union in the country, according to its website.

That’s a long way from the beginning. The college faculty and staff who founded the credit union ran it themselves for 20 years before hiring their first manager, Frances Lesnieski, Clobes said.

Clobes, who has held the role since Pat McPharlin retired after 42 years in 2015, said it was very progressive for the board to have a female leader at the time and Lesnieski is why the company’s online chatbot is called Fran.

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