30 In Their Thirties: Jennifer Borowy, CEO, Michigan First Credit Union, Lathrup Village

When Jennifer Borowy enrolled at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, in 2005, her goal was to teach math or English to middle school students. A part-time job as a bank teller, however, changed her life and career path.
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Jennifer Borowy // Photo by Trever Long

When Jennifer Borowy enrolled at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, in 2005, her goal was to teach math or English to middle school students. A part-time job as a bank teller, however, changed her life and career path.

“I just absolutely fell in love with it, helping people and advising them, and teaching them how to save and borrow and do anything with their banking needs,” Borowy says. “I ended up going into (the university’s) retail development program and banking.”

A year after graduation, Borowy won an award as the top teller in sales at the same regional bank where she had been introduced to the industry. Next on her career ladder was a promotion to assistant branch manager.

Her early success prompted a move to PNC Bank, where she quickly excelled and became a vice president and a branch manager.

In 2016, Borowy joined the Buckeye State Credit Union, a struggling lender in the Akron area with $85 million in assets. A net worth restoration plan she led boosted the credit union’s value by nearly 2 percent in one year.

That performance earned her a move north to metro Detroit in 2019, where she joined Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village, a nearly 100-year-old lender with $1.5 billion in assets and 168,000 members.

“This was a unique opportunity because it had a well-designed succession plan. The CEO had been here, at that time, for 20 years, and I had the opportunity to work side by side with him for over four years in anticipation of his retirement,” she says.

Since taking over as president and CEO in 2022, Borowy has increased statewide growth to 30 branches from 20 branches, mainly in Walmart, Meijer, and Kroger stores.

In addition, under her stewardship, Michigan First was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a member of the Detroit CDFI Coalition. The dual distinction allows the institution to provide banking and investment services to low- income communities.

“Our No. 1 priority is to serve our membership very well, and what’s unique is that we offer an individualized approach to every member who walks in our doors or calls us,” she says.

Borowy also is expanding Michigan First Mortgage Co., which now services more than $1 billion in mortgage loans, along with introducing new services. An active member of the community, Michigan First’s foundation last year awarded $75,000 in scholarships and $100,000 to local nonprofit organizations.

“We’re creating a digital branch this year to meet our members where they are,” she adds. “If a member wants to do their banking from home, we can serve them that way.”

Next up is a youth account that will offer the cashless products younger members prefer, while also providing financial education.

“It’s very important that we continue to find ways to be able to financially educate our members,” Borowy says.