When preparing my son for college in Spokane, we were not only disappointed to discover no BECU branches in the area (I understand that will soon change - YAY!) but realized that US Bank seems to dominate the majority of campus bank options. There are so many member benefits to maintaining a credit union account, especially as a young adult estabolishing your first financial autonomy. I hope BECU will consider seeking new branch and ATM locations near ALL WA state colleges, both private and state schools. For example, in Spokane, there is an area near downtown, where Gonzaga, Whitworth and WSU all maintain campuses. It is located between E Sharp Ave, N Division St, N Hamilton St and E Spokane Falls Blvd. Think about how many young BECU members may choose to switch from a credit union as they enter this new part of life, only to discover the closest credit union (Spokane Teachers Credit Union) is about a mile from Gonzaga and several blocks from the WSU and Whitworth branch campuses. A great area to consider, on the North or East side of Gonzaga campus, where lots of new appartment contruction also includes retail pads at street level. Few financial institutions have ventured into this area, yet college students need a constant flow of funds due to the cost of university and living separately from their childhood home.
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As the parent of a freshman college student, I was disappointed to learn BECU's does not offer a visa option intended to support an 'emerging' credit holder. I suggest BECU initiate a "college student starter card" to maintain the loyalty that may have started with the 'student account' begun with the 'first high school job'. Otherwise, your loyal, but young and lacking a credit history, bankers will be forced to look at the big banks to estabolish their first credit experiences. In my opinion, the perfect emerging credit holder card looks like: 1) A maximum credit balance of less than $500 (for us, the ideal was $300) 2) Not requiring a parent co-signer. Their learning needs to be autonomous from Mom & Dad. 3) Reward timely payment history with diminishing interest rates over time. 4) Post on-line and on paper statements, what a responsible credit holders behavior 'looks like'. BECU does a good job educating the community with radio ads, why not take this to children of your loyal account holders, who opened student accounts for their kids and hoped to continue the credit union loyalty into the next generation.
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