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Non-Traditional Checking - Generations

Credit Union :Generations
Assets :$17,045,000
Address :5618 Harrison Avenue | Rockford, IL 61108

Check Cashing Qualifications :

  • Those members who don’t qualify for the credit union’s traditional checking account

Rates, Fees, and Terms :

  • No checks
  • Unlimited deposits and withdrawals
  • Prepaid/Reloadable Visa Debit Card
  • Earns monthly dividends
  • $2 monthly service fee
  • $.50/transaction load fee
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • $.50/transaction NSF fee

The CUMoney prepaid debit card can be loaded by credit union staff or via the Internet. The Internet transaction, however can take up to three days because it initiates an ACH withdrawal from the member’s credit union account. Members, therefore, are encouraged to call the credit union to have funds loaded onto the card, which then are available within a few hours or the next business day at the latest. Once the funds are loaded, transactions are in real time. The card can be used at ATMs and for PIN-based or signature-based transactions. The cumoney.com web site is available 24/7 for members to view their transactions and balances.

Vendors/Systems Used :

CUMoney is a product offered by the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) Service Corporation. As a web-based product, no special technology is required.

Target Market :

  • Those who don’t qualify for the credit union’s traditional checking.
  • Those who are unbanked or under-banked and need a tool to manage their transactions.
  • Anyone who wants to withdraw funds from a non-transactional savings account more frequently than six withdrawals/transfers per calendar month as permitted by regulation.

Marketing Strategy :

  • The product is marketed on the credit union’s website
  • The product is offered to anyone who applies for a traditional checking account and does not meet the credit union’s qualifications.

Program Results/Statistics :

  • As of November 2009, the credit union had 31 non-traditional checking accounts.
  • All but one were in good standing.

Member Benefits :

  • Offers transactional flexibility for members.
  • Overdraft potential is limited.
  • Members save $1/month in service fees compared to Wal-Mart Money Card and $2.50 for each reload fee compared to Wal-Mart.
  • In addition, Wal-Mart charges for ATM withdrawals, balance inquiries, and over-the-counter cash advances.

Additional Information :

Generations CU is one of approximately 50 Illinois CUs expected to participate in the “bank on” program that is being pushed by State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to promote low-cost or free checking accounts to underserved households. A study by the Pew Charitable Trust found that Rockford, a manufacturing city of 160,000 is home to 4,600 unbanked households. These households rely on check cashers, payday lenders and pawn shops to cash checks, pay bills or borrow money instead of using a traditional financial institution. The average unbanked household in Illinois pays $574 a year to cash payroll checks at check cashers, leaving just $22,376 in remaining income, according to Giannoulias.

Karen Jurasek, president and CEO of Generations, noted that many of the unbanked “have a language barrier or lack transportation,” which hinders access to financial institutions. Many of the unbanked “lack the skills necessary to manage their housing expenses and their paycheck. The Bank on Rockford provides the conduit to these individuals.” Denise Leonard, member relations manager at Generations, adds, “The Bank On program is a great way to extend an invitation to the un-banked and under-banked in Rockford and the surrounding areas who meet our eligibility requirements.”