For the $180 million Gateway Metro Federal Credit Union of St. Louis, the path to reaching the youth market leads to more mergers of small, faith-based CUs, its president/CEO, David Barton, said last week.
"We are negotiating now with a couple more that have approached us," said Barton, whose comments came as the St. Louis CU completed the consolidation of the struggling $400,000 Holy Infant CU.
The Holy Infant merger marks the fourth parish CU takeover for Gateway Metro, which finds the ability to establish student-assistged branches in church schools an attractive benefit in offering financial education services to both young people and adults.
"The concept has worked well for us considering the aging membership in these credit unions," said Barton. The average member age in all Missouri CUs is 47-48 but the average age of Missourians is 37 "so our goal is to reach a younger segment," said Barton.
The student-assisted branches are appealing to the CU in reaching the parents who bring their kids into the school as well as to the high school students themselves in establishing future accounts.
Gateway sponsors student-assisted branches at three Catholic elementary schools and opened a high school branch at Trinity Catholic High School in St. Louis last spring.
In deciding to merge with Gateway, Holy Infant management said it considered its members' access to more innovative services from Gateway as well as the ability to offer financial education and to open the student-assistged branch.