CEOs’ Corner: Polish & Slavic CEO Looks for Growth
For Polish-born Oskar Mielczarek, the new CEO of the 72,000 member, $1.4 billion Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, taking the helm at the CU means helping Polish & Slavic balance its traditional leadership and service role in the Polish-American community with the need to evolve into a 21st century financial institution.
It s a role for which he is uniquely suited, having been born in Warsaw but growing up in other European countries and receiving his education at leading European and North American universities. This, combined with experience at some of the largest banks both in the U.S. and overseas, meant that he comes to the institution both aware of its role in the Polish community and with a set of skills he believes the credit union can use.
The geographic challenge has been to expand past the CU's original locations in New York and New Jersey and into other parts of the country that also have large Polish populations.
The CU made the first move in this direction by opening branches in Chicago, the home of the largest Polish-speaking population outside of Poland, a move Mielczarek described as “very successful” but which still leaves Polish communities in other parts of the country, particularly in Florida and Massachusetts, without a financial institution that understands their unique history and needs.