The Blender Mender

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Discovery FCU here has become the latest to target newlyweds with a new type of deposit account aimed at friends and families.

Discovery FCU's Wedding Registry Account to accept cash gifts versus wedding guests picking out one item from a traditional wedding registry at a local retailer or mailing in a paper check.

The account is similar to the "Matri-Money" program being piloted at North Island FCU in San Diego and developed as part of the Filene Institute's i3 Group.

DFCU's Wedding Registry Account was the brainchild of Discovery Marketing and Business Development Director Tricia Szurgot, who thought it would be a quick and secure way to collect cash while also resolving the sticky etiquette issue of couples asking for needed funds without seeming greedy or crass.

Szurgot said the Wedding Registry Accounts reflect a fact of modern life: many couples have lived together before marriage, are marrying later in life, or are an older couple starting their lives together with no need for kitchen appliances or china sets. As Szurgot noted, "They don't need another blender."

Szurgot shared an example from her own life to illustrate how a Wedding Registry Account is a good idea.

She attended one wedding and gave the couple a check that was never cashed. After contacting the couple, Szurgot learned the check had gotten lost and never made it to them.

Szurgot said wedding guests who aren't comfortable bringing an envelope full of cash to a wedding or handing over a check to a perfect stranger will be satisfied with the new accounts.

"It's a much more secure way of doing it," she said.

People invited to a wedding can donate cash to a couple's cash registry in person, by mail or with a credit card.

Discovery provides cash donors with a "thank you" receipt in appreciation that can also be included in an RSVP to the couple to alert them of a donation.

Guests donating to the accounts don't need to be members, she said. The accounts are free for members and have real-time online accounting, e-mail updates and weekly mailings for members without online access.

Funds are available right away and can be used by couples who are paying for their own weddings, another example from Szurgot's personal life.

Szurgot said she realizes how some people might not be comfortable with the accounts, as some might see it as too bold or poor etiquette. Szurgot reminds couples that many of their guests will send cash regardless and mainly want the couple to be happy and get off to a good start.

Instead of buying a large piece of china that will sit in a fancy cabinet for years or for those who can't attend the ceremony, Szurgot said many guests will prefer the easy choice of a cash donation. "Guests want to give you what you want," she said.

Szurgot said having an established financial account with controls and security helps remove the stigma of asking for a cash donation, when in fact its what a wedding couple really needs.

Szurgot said the Wedding Registry accounts were premiered at a local bridal show and Discovery Credit Union signed up 20 new members and Wedding Registry accounts the first day as a direct result of the new program.

Szurgot said she has seen positive response to the accounts from couples of all ages.

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