John D. Unangst ’72- A Symbol of Service for Country and Business Success

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Long before assuming his current post as CEO of the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, Brother Unangst spent three years in the hostile jungles of Vietnam where he served as a Captain. Awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Air Medal for Valor, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Unangst is a natural leader.

“I returned from Vietnam and re-started college at age 22,” said Unangst. “I have a penchant for getting involved, and joining a fraternity seemed like the best way to round out the college experience that I wanted. I was still young enough to enjoy the experience yet mature enough to know that the fraternity offered more than just a house- It was a home away from home. Unlike a dorm or apartment, I knew as an alumnus I would always be able to return to my fraternity. Psi Chapter was, and still is, warm and friendly."

“Because of my age, I was immediately nicknamed ‘pop,’ recalls Unangst.” “I didn’t look my age or act older but the name was better than some. Like one brother who put his foot through the ceiling in the attic and got the nickname “LightFoot.” Pop worked. My favorite memory, though, was dinner time. I really can’t remember eating breakfast or lunch in the house but I will never forget that we gathered as a family around the large dining room tables each evening. Just like dinner at home with a large family gathering but now with fraternity brothers. It was a time to laugh, learn, commiserate sometimes, and grow. (Harass the pledges) Since I was one of few with a car, I had the privilege of driving our house mother/chef home each night. I’m not quite sure how much of our conversations she heard. Although she had the opportunity, she never brought them up during our car rides, and that taught me a lot about maturity and life, too.

Regardless what fraternity you join, the experience is generally universal. In the house next to Psi Chapter were many guys from my hometown. So, it is geographically convenient to keep in touch. My Psi Chapter brothers came from different parts of the state and many have moved out of state since graduation. So, we may not keep in touch as regularly but no time has passed when we reunite at PSU events.

A few years ago, my wife and I were in Norfolk, VA, as our son was about to ship out with the Navy. I knew my roommate and fraternity brother Walker Shivar ’73, practiced orthodontics in Norfolk, so I looked him up in the local directory. His name was on five office locations. I randomly picked one and the receptionist told me that not only was he there, but also standing right next to her. She handed him the phone and within an hour we were having lunch together. That’s the camaraderie a fraternity instills.”

As if those things weren’t enough, Mr. Unangst has excelled in the business world as well.

“I have been President/CEO of Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union for 40 Years,” the Vietnam vet told us. “During that time, I founded a Credit Union mortgage subsidiary company, State Financial Network, where I remain Chairman of the Board. I have been most fortunate to establish a non-profit educational foundation through the Credit Union. I am passionate about supporting education, especially financial literacy. FMFCU Partners in Education is responsible for carrying out the expansive charitable mission of Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, including The Bernstein Bears Financial Literacy Program, a youth education and marketing suite of products developed by our team as the result of our unique relationship with Bernstein Enterprises, Inc. Our Foundation is also the conduit for uniting other organizations to produce one of Pennsylvania’s premier annual academic achievement banquets, The Partners in Education Celebration.

Having a financial institution survive 40 years and grow in an economically turbulent environment is my greatest professional accomplishment. FMFCU is a stable part of the greater Philadelphia economy, employing nearly 400 people and serving about 100,000 individual and business members. Despite an often bearish market, our financial institution grew from one million dollars in assets to one billion dollars in assets thanks to a team of dedicated and enthusiastic professionals committed to the Philadelphia Tri-State region. State Financial Network, which provides mortgage lending to smaller credit unions, also thrived when many lenders folded during the housing bubble burst.

I wanted to bring that secure, warm feeling I always felt in our frat house to the Credit Union. Once a month, FMFCU hosts a new employee lunch that I attend. It is important to me that I break bread with every employee when they start. I never really thought about this until you posed the question but our new employee lunch is similar to what I experienced each night at our frat house dining room table.

Studies prove what I experienced in Psi Chapter. Camaraderie and a sense of belonging enable people to perform better. Through initiatives like Fish Philosophy, Welcome Home, In-Service Days, and Great Place to Work, we’ve achieved that. But we are not resting on our laurels. The effort to maintain and improve our environment is ongoing.  

My wife Gail and I have five adult children between us and four grandchildren. My son John David is also a PSU grad. As you can imagine, family takes up a lot of our time, and happily so, but I manage to also make time to play golf, tennis, and enjoy some travel. Outside of work, I also serve on the Riddle Hospital Foundation Board and the Penn State Brandywine Campus Advisory Board.”

As for advice for future Brothers, Unangst offers these words.

“You picked a great school and a great fraternity; get involved,” he said. “Seek activities that ignite enthusiasm and provide life lessons. Serve others. There is no greater reward than the feeling of accomplishing a charitable act. Determine one or two causes about which you are passionate and do what you can to help advance them, whether it’s your time, talent, or treasure, donate a part of yourself. I do not think of my career as work because it’s my passion. I love what I do. You should, too.”

For Mr. Unangst’s professional bio visit www.fmfcu.org

You may contact John at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..