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DALLAS – The $450 Million Texas Trust Credit Union has inaugurated a program through which members can designate part of their debit interchange toward an effort to purchase and restore an historic World War II airplane. The program, which the credit union has dubbed the Heritage Debit Card Program will seek to both raise money for a group which seeks to purchase and restore the plane, as well as reassure the credit union’s original sponsor, the Vought Aircraft company, that the credit union remained committed to the company despite going through a recent name change. “Vought has remained committed to the credit union through the name change,” explained Tony Hale, vice president with the credit union, “but as part of the name change we wanted to be proactive about reassuring Vought that they remain a priority.” Texas Trust had been Vought Heritage Community Credit Union until the recent name change. The aircraft in question is the Vought F4U Corsair, a plane which saw a great deal of action in the Pacific theater in the war. Retirees from the Vought Aircraft Industry Retirees Club are trying to raise many to purchase and restore one of the planes. Vought Aircraft was the credit union’s original sponsoring organization. The retirees’ initial goal is $275,000 and each time a member uses their TXTCU Heritage Debit Card a portion of the interchange from the purchase will flow to the restoration effort. “Essentially, anyone who can qualify for a checking account can get one of these special edition debit cards,” Hayes said. “Those wishing to help make history with this project can simply open a checking account and receive a free, limited edition, Heritage Debit Card which features a beautiful image of the Corsair.” Hayes would not reveal just how much of the credit union’s debit interchange would go to the project from the cards, but he did say that some of the transactions could generate up to 80 cents per transaction for the restoration effort. “Our debit transaction interchange is on a scale depending on the retailer and where the card is used,” he explained. The more important factor, he explained, was that Texas Trust had not set a cap on the donation that it would make. The program is scheduled to continue through the end of 2005 and may be maintained if there is widespread member and public participation in the effort. “From the beginning we wanted the program to attract not only our members but the broader community as well,” Hayes explained. That had been another reason the credit union had chosen to support the Corsair effort. “The plane is so well known and has such a colorful war history that we wanted to be part of the restoration and thought others would as well,” Hayes explained. Hayes got the idea about supporting the restoration program after he visited the hanger that Vought lets the retirees’ group use as a base at its facility. “They explained to me what they were trying to raise money to do and a light just went off in my head,” Hayes explained. In addition to the cards, the effort will also include specially designed checks which also have the Corsair on them and anyone who opens one of the Heritage checking accounts will receive a die cast model of the famous plane. Although the credit union will not roll out the accounts and the cards until mid-July, Hayes anticipates at lot of support and reported Texas Trust has purchased 7,500 of the cards. In addition to using its newsletter and statements to promote the accounts and cards, the credit union is looking into promoting the cards and the restoration effort at air shows in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Texas Trust affinity debit program comes on the heels of a similar program offered by the $510 North Carolina Local Government FCU, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the Local Government program, members are able to designate 50% of their debit card interchange to a statewide firefighters association which uses the money for training and equipment donations. -

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