Credit unions mulling how to better attract younger members might take note of the $275 million Neighborhood Credit Union's most recent SEG addition.
The Dallas-based credit union announced on March 25 that it has added the employees of Six Flags Over Texas, a well known local entertainment company, as a select employee group.
According to the credit union and the company, the partnership will give the CU access to between 4,500 and 5,000 employees, many of whom have never had bank accounts, from the company's Six Flags amusement park and Hurricane Harbor water park.
The partnership will allow the credit union to advertise in the park as well as place ATMs in parts of the park that are exclusive to the employees, such as break and locker rooms. Also, the company and credit union will partner to offer park employees $1,000 scholarships in a scholarship competition. Eligible employees will be asked "How have you provided world-class service to a guest while working at Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor, and how has working at Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor prepared you to further your education and/or career?"
"We value our partnership with Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor," said Chet Kimmell, CEO of Neighborhood Credit Union. "Their focus on service matches our mission at the credit union. Given the enthusiasm and youth of many of the Six Flags employees, Neighborhood Credit Union is eager to help them think about their future and make wise decisions about the money they earn."
"As an organization focused on outstanding service and hospitality, the Six Flags family in Arlington is excited about this partnership with Neighborhood Credit Union and all the benefits it will bring for our team members," said Steve Martindale, Six Flags Over Texas park president and general manager.
Mark Arnold, senior vice president with Neighborhood said the state chartered CU, which is the oldest in Dallas, had been approached by the company for the partnership.
"They had just gone through a major transition to requiring all of their employees to use direct deposit for their pay and were looking for a banking partnership," explained Arnold. "And, of course, we liked that, too."
Arnold explained that the credit union considered the new SEG a strong opportunity to start out with a young person at the beginning of their financial career and perhaps to have a chance to form a longstanding relationship with them.
Even though the stereotype for jobs in amusement parks tends to suggest they have a high turnover rate, Arnold said the credit union had been impressed with the company's relatively stable work force.
"Even though the company's hiring has definite seasonal cycles," Arnold said, "we noticed how many of their employees come back summer after summer. In fact, a number of their employees in full time all year supervisory jobs now started out as summer workers."
Arnold said it was rare for the credit union to have an invitation into the financial life of someone at such a young age, when many people are making the financial habits that they will have for years.
Sharon Parker, Director of Corporate Communications for Six Flags said the company had been drawn to the credit union after one of its executives met some credit union representatives at a community event.
"Neighborhood has a long standing reputation for good service and helping their members improve their financial lives and that was very attractive to us," Parker explained, adding that the company had particularly liked deploying ATMs in the employee areas since that will allow the employees to have fee-free ATM access.