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Safe Accounts

Credit Union :Western
Assets :$61,000,000
Address :750 Georgesville Road | Columbus, OH 43228
Start Date :N/A

Rates, Fees, and Terms :

User Qualifications :

Those members without a SSN or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) that do not qualify to receive dividends or do not want to receive dividends

Rates, Fees, and Terms :

* Minimum opening balance is $5 * Photo and ID is required; acceptable IDs are: * State-issued ID * Passport * Voter registration card * Matricula Consular * Proof of U.S. address is required (utility bill or paystub is acceptable) * No dividends are paid to the account * No monthly service charges or fees apply if the member maintains a minimum balance of $250 or has other relationships with the credit union

Vendors/Systems Used :

No special technology is necessary.

Target Market :

Individuals within the field of membership who do not qualify for other accounts or who do not want dividends.

Marketing Strategy :

The account is marketed only to eligible members who cannot receive dividends in their account or because of religious beliefs do not want dividends.

Program Results/Statistics :

As of March 2010, Western has 93 Safe Share Accounts.

Member Benefits :

The Safe Share Account establishes membership in the credit union and members may qualify for other services. The accounts are insured by NCUA and provide a safe place for those without tax ID numbers to keep their money.

Additional Information :

Western Credit Union is located in a neighborhood where many new immigrants reside. “When we began to focus our efforts to attract this market,” says Maria Gonzalez, solution center manager, “it became apparent that these new members needed a safe place to put their money. Many were undocumented and didn’t have social security numbers.” Western offers people the opportunity to have a non-interest bearing account while they obtain a social security number or ITIN. The Safe Account allows members to begin saving. “We encourage members to save through payroll deduction,” says Gonzalez. “We try to make it easy for them.” When members receive their ITINs the accounts are converted to interest bearing accounts.

Credit unions that want to serve the immigrant market should consider offering a Safe Account, says Gonzalez. “It’s an important first step in helping immigrants to access financial services. For us, it is the first step in building a relationship with them,” she concludes.