Two CUs Combine To Charter CU At Boys & Girls Club

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Summit Credit Union and CUNA Credit Union partnered to charter a new credit union for members and employees of the local Boys & Girls Club.

Called STAR (Save To Achieve Results) CU, the new financial institution will operate at the club and provide only savings accounts.

"Our goal is to provide financial education to Boys & Girls Club members," said Becky Gerothanas, VP of Marketing at Summit. "There will be no loans and no checking accounts. We're certainly not expecting to make any money as there won't be any services to generate income."

She said the two credit unions, which already have a shared branch arrangement, wanted to jointly provide this new credit union as a community service. They will share the operating expenses, estimated at about $30,000 annually, and work jointly to teach kids about money matters. The Wisconsin Credit Union League also pitched in seed money to get the operation started.

Gerothanas said not only will they encourage young members to save, staff hopes to see many participate in the operation itself. "We will use one of the offices right in the middle of the club," she said, explaining that it would likely have a part-time manager to oversee the operation that will likely include a teller window and a small day vault with minimal cash on hand.

"We're not looking for people to be nice and make large deposits," Gerothanas said. "The intention is for the kids to save (and learn)."

She said that CEOs Andy Faust of Summit CU and Kim Sponem of CUNA CU decided that chartering a new credit union was their best option for this type of venture.

"When we started looking at other models in schools, we found that they were just satellite offices," Gerothanas said. "And both wanted to be more involved than that. In talking to other people who have satellite offices, we learned that they are subject to more pressing business and get less attention."

They did consider starting a CUSO, but decided the task was much too cumbersome. Both CEOs, along with some of their senior staff, make up the CUs first board of directors.

"Right now, we are working on the manager's job description," Gerothanas said. "It has to be the right kind of person, somebody who has a financial background and experience working with children."

Once that person is selected, she expects that he or she will assist in opening the new branch, hopefully sometime in the spring.

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