Wise beyond his years

In August 2019 Kuran Malhotra was awarded the 2019 Credit Union Rockstar Award by the Credit Union National Association’s Credit Union Magazine.

Article originally published in Credit Union Magazine, Fall 2019 Edition. Originally posted here.

Kuran Malhotra gets a lot of questions from his friends about financial issues.

But as the CEO of the largest entirely student-run credit union, Malhotra has much more insight into the financial world than most 20-year-olds.

The senior at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business says he doesn’t mind fielding his friends’ questions because he’s passionate about all forms of financial literacy.

“I’m always happy to help out,” he says. “Financial literacy isn’t zero-sum, and you don’t gain anything by not sharing what you know. The more you share, the better off everyone becomes.”

Malhotra started working with Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union (GUASFCU) in his first year at Georgetown and served as chief technology officer (CTO) before the board of directors—also made up entirely of students—promoted him to CEO.

Colleague Nick Aquino, another intern at the $16 million asset credit union, says Malhotra’s excellent track record as CTO made him an obvious choice. During his tenure, Malhotra led efforts to move the credit union’s file and web servers to the cloud, replace all the front-end computing infrastructure, and rework vendor contracts—reducing expenses by roughly 30%.

“He has effectively changed the way we operate as an organization, bringing efficiency, budgeting, and automation to the table along with security and mindfulness—all while keeping our volunteers motivated and happy,” Aquino says.

Since starting as CEO, Malhotra has worked to expand outreach to graduate students and alumni—two groups that weren’t previously a strategic focus. And he continues to modernize the credit union, leading projects to upgrade and automate more processes to keep up with the latest financial technology.

In all of these projects, Malhotra says the biggest challenge has been developing a continuity strategy, because student employees have a limited tenure.

“The board and I have worked extremely hard to flatten the organizational structure to encourage younger interns to get involved and take on exciting new projects, and ensure the longevity of the ones that just can’t get done within a year,” he says.

Malhotra says his time at GUASFCU has impressed upon him the importance of credit unions.

“Credit unions are deeply embedded into the fabric of the financial sector, and it falls on us to ensure their success, and to ensure that the benefits of a not-for-profit financial institution are readily accessible to those who need them most,” he says.

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