A Conversation with Donna LoStocco, president and CEO of First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union

Stacy Wescoe//March 24, 2021

A Conversation with Donna LoStocco, president and CEO of First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union

Stacy Wescoe//March 24, 2021

Donna LoStocco


First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union started in 1959 serving the manufacturing segment of AT&T, which was then known as Western Electric. Donna LoStocco joined the credit union in 2016 as president and CEO with a mission to grow membership.

LVB: There has been a great deal of activity at First Commonwealth, you recently opened a new headquarters in Lower Macungie Township. Tell me about that move.

LoStocco: We had two buildings, one in Allentown and one in Bethlehem. They were both pretty old and hadn’t been very well maintained over the years. When we looked at the cost…we found out it was more cost effective and made more sense to build, especially in a part of the Lehigh Valley that is growing so dramatically.

We were thinking of the staffing growth in the future. We have 81,000 square feet and we’re not using that all right away. So, we’ve leased out the first floor and we’ve taken over the second and third floors of the building.

We have lots of sustainable features in the building. There’s lots of natural light being let in. (There are also many employee wellness features and initiatives including water bottle filling stations, UV light cleaning the HVAC system and a workout center for employees.)

LVB: You’ve also opened an urban branch in Allentown. Tell me about that.

LoStocco: We didn’t really have an Allentown presence. Even our Union Boulevard location wasn’t downtown. We already have a lot of members that were downtown and while the Union Boulevard location did have public transportation, we were interested in being walkable so those communities could easily get to us.

Having accessible branches is important because the Lehigh Valley is a pretty face to face place. I spent much of my career in New Jersey and it wasn’t so much so. Getting to know the people you’re working with is extremely important here.

In fact, when I arrived here in 2016 the board told me they felt we needed to have more physical locations and in the last four years we’ve grown from six branches to 11.

We are also involved in the Bank On Allentown movement – in fact I believe were the first to sign up — so we were very happy to add a physical location to Allentown

LVB: First Commonwealth has also made some leadership changes and now has women as 50% of its leadership? Was that planned?

LoStocco: When I arrived at the credit union I had an all-male report staff and an all-male board. It was important to me and to the board to have a more diverse staff.

We were looking for as much diversity we could find, it didn’t have to be female. All things being equal we tried to find a more diverse [management team] and many of them happened to be women.

LVB: What role do you think a diverse management team has in creating a better institution?

LoStocco: First and foremost we get diversity of thought. You can say that about any diversity but men and women do think differently. They make different decisions. Of course, I’m making a lot of generalizations, but it’s a totally different atmosphere. People want to have a work life balance.

The one thing that might be different is the lactation rooms. With all male management it might have been a last thought instead of a first thought.

We also have a high percentage of bilingual workforce which will help us better serve a diverse community. We serve a diverse community and our employees should reflect that.

LVB: What’s next for the credit union?

LoStocco: Up through 2016, the credit union had done a great job surviving the recession and keeping its financials strong.  But, it did very little in terms of growth. I was charged with growth. We upgraded our online banking platform and grew our number of financial centers from six to 11 in four years when not much had been done in the decade before.

We’re going to be looking to support the communities and to increase efficiency. We’ve got all this great software that we’ve only just started to tap into to serve our members.  When our members do more with us we’re able to give back to our members.

We’re also very focused on the Bank On movement and to bringing accessibility to banking — to bring affordable, accessible banking to everyone.