With an eye on getting younger members more actively involved in the Nederland, Texas-based credit union, students who agree to serve at least a two-year term on its Student Advisory Council receive up to $1,000 scholarships.
"The response has been fantastic," said DuPont Goodrich FCU Senior Vice President Marketing/Community Relations Lisa Baione. "Not only is it a great way to earn a scholarship, but the council members serve as an invaluable resource in helping us identify, develop and promote the products and services younger members respond to."
Already active within area high schools through its NEFE presentations, Baione said that forming the council in 2007 was just a natural extension of its strategic plan to grow its youth membership.
The council, which meets monthly, is made up of area high school and college students who work hand-in-hand with the credit union to develop and implement innovative products and services that meet the needs of today's youth. To be a council member, students have to meet high academic standards, be involved in their community, show leadership skills, commit to at least one meeting per month in the credit union boardroom, and they must be a DuPont Goodrich FCU Member.
"We want innovative, vocal people who are willing to share ideas about how we can make our services better. There is no just sitting in on meetings-every council member has to contribute and participate," said Baione.
She said by truly empowering the group, it has given the credit union access to a dynamic diverse group of innovative thinkers ranging in age from 15-24 who are excited about finding ways to improve their credit union. Council membership has swelled from an initial 10 to 23 this year.
Council members recently wrapped up their first project-after studying the National Endowment of Financial Education Program the students created an online financial resource center that reaches out to other students and provides valuable financial education through MySpace and Facebook.
"It is a work in progress with daily student blog postings, and we're also using it as a way to field questions from younger members," said Baione. "They also let us know that they wanted the NEFE program to be more hands-on, and they wanted to participate in more projects rather than just going through the units. I think the reason why this is working so well is that we take the council member suggestions and ideas seriously and try to implement them quickly."
For example when early meetings revealed that students wanted to access their accounts via their cell phone, DuPont Goodrich FCU launched its mobile banking program. Another idea spurred by the council is a scholarship reward debit card program.
The DuGood scholarship rewards program allows students between the ages of 15 and 24, and their parents, to earn cash for college or any accredited higher education. The program is designed to encourage financial responsibility by managing money through a debit card. Each time the card is used as a signature-based transaction, points are earned. One point accumulates for every $2 spent. The points can then be turned into cash for college. The scholarship paid is 1% of the total point balance.
To promote the program the credit union partners with area schools to offer custom high school mascot debit cards. The custom cards are available to those participating in the scholarship rewards program or any member of the community who wants to show school spirit and support their local team.