First Financial Foundation Names Amanda Sayko of Howell Winner of 2013 Scholarship

Press Release

Amanda SaykoPictured Above: Amanda Sayko of Howell

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation ( recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Amanda Sayko of Howell, who recently began her freshman year at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College – majoring in science. Sayko graduated from Howell High School in June 2013, with an impressive 4.4 GPA.

Three winners were chosen overall for the First Financial Foundation’s 2013 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship.

This year’s scholarship topic was:

Due to heavy competition in New Jersey with banks and financial institutions on every corner, how can First Financial bring in new credit union members? How can we differentiate ourselves and successfully carry out a membership drive within the community to recruit new members? Please answer the question as if you were a First Financial executive – what would you do to educate the local community about the benefits of a credit union membership?

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/12 and about to attend for fall 2013 – or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

Sayko submitted an essay explaining why reaching out to the public would help First Financial bring in new members, and in her essay she stated, “People need to feel a connection with the everyday people they trust their money with. They need to ask questions and talk to their bankers face to face.  That is one of the things I like about First Financial. When I go in to deposit my paycheck I talk to the same people every time. They are friendly and personable employees who actually know who I am.  You don’t get that feeling at a larger financial institution.” Later she added, “To me, personal relationships are the key factor when it comes to trusting people with your money.  For the current generations, large banks have lost the trust of the general public, and First Financial should emphasize how credit unions are trustworthy and a not for profit entity; separating it from its competitors.”

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright young students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 77 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”