Seeking Students As Sign-Ups, Card Offers Deals

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Kelly Tyler Credit Union is counting on its newest product to help area college students lighten their budget loads, and, in the process, become members.

Jennifer Hernandez, marketing specialist at KTFCU, said the $55-million CU has partnered with The Collegiate Card in Waco, Texas, to offer students a card-named after its company-that allows them discounts at participating businesses, including restaurants, coffee houses, dry cleaners, tanning salons and retail stores.

As the realization set in that its membership has been getting older, Hernandez said, the CU had been researching ways to draw in the younger crowd when her CEO heard about the Collegiate Card while attending a leadership conference. The cards-purchased from TCC for $1 each-are free to new and transferring students at University of Texas, Tyler and Tyler Junior College. All others pay $10.

Its sole purpose is to provide students with discounts at the places they typically do business, she said. While TCC makes the contact with businesses, they are open to suggestions from card carriers, according to its website,

The company does provide an exclusivity clause that allows only one financial institution to distribute the cards per college. Hernandez said the CU is responsible for distribution and design of the card.

With the help of the Texas Credit Union League, KTCU created a postcard that includes the CU's "eye-catching" mascot-a cartoon like character with one big eye for a head-and information about Kelly Tyler CU.

It includes information about the card and the CU and invites students to learn more about the credit union whose FOM includes all of Smith County, where both colleges are located. "When they bring the cards in to us, we'll waive their ($1) membership fee," Hernandez said.

With school just back in session, Hernandez said, it's too soon to tell how the product will fare. Even though a lot of college students are transient, Hernandez said, CU staff is hoping that many will realize the benefits of the CU and sign up. "We really want to get that younger member in and have them for a lifetime," she said. "When they get their first auto loan, we want to be the first place they look."

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