COLUMBIA, S.C. -- You don't have to be a math professor tounderstand the implication of these numbers.

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By some estimates, 94% of Generation Y (18 to 28 year olds) donot belong to credit unions. But Facebook, the uberpopular socialutility that first took off among the college crowd, has 68 millionmembers and growing.

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So it's perhaps not surprising that Galaxy Credit UnionSolutions is finding a market for MyMoney, an application thatplaces credit unions directly on the Facebook members' home pageand gives users functional access to their accounts.

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One of the first takers is Carolina Collegiate Federal CreditUnion (www.carolina.org) at the University of South Carolina.

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"We know a large number of our students here use Facebook and tothem it's all about convenience," said Anne Shivers, president ofthe $55 million CU with branches on and around the main campus inColumbia and at USC Upstate in Spartanburg and Coastal CarolinaUniversity near Myrtle Beach.

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"In order to provide them our services, we need to make it asconvenient as possible for them, or we may not be meeting theirneeds," Shivers said.

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Or the long-term needs of the credit union.

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"This is not a passing fad," said Lauren Vance, marketingmanager at $215 million Christian Financial Credit Union(www.christianfinancialcu.com) in Roseville, Mich., another earlyadopter of MyMoney.

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"This is something this generation is going to be using throughadulthood, and since these are the tools they're going to be using,we need to be there," said Vance, herself a Facebook user whosecredit union serves four counties around Detroit.

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Galaxy, a Detroit-based Fiserv operating unit with more than 300credit union clients, now has more than a dozen credit unions liveon MyMoney and about 50 signed up for it.

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Galaxy wrote an interface to its core processing platform tomake the connection happen, a connection that can be made for othercore processors, both in the Fiserv family and beyond.

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Connections already have been made for credit unions runningSymitar and Ultradata platforms, according to Jay Slavin, seniorvice president of the Galaxy Business Line for Fiserv. And most ofthe work happens on the vendor side.

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"Once you get to the CU side, there's very little involvementfor them," Slavin said.

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"Many credit unions we've spoken to are looking for ways toattract younger members. With Facebook's increasing popularity,viral marketing opportunities and enhanced security measures, wefelt the MyMoney application was the perfect avenue to help ourclients connect with this generation," he said.

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Connecting can also mean enticing them to join. Facebook hasbecome the major way a lot of young Americans stay in touch witheach other, and one of its features is that it notifies users'friends on the network when they add an application, such asMyMoney.

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"In this case, when friends visit their users' profiles, theycan see which credit unions their friends belong to," Slavin said."If the credit union uses Fiserv's iSwitchKit solution for onlineaccount opening, Facebook users can join the institution on thespot."

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Credit unions also can create their own pages on Facebook,adding their logo, rates, services, locations, events and otherdetails. Meanwhile, more traditional marketing tools are being usedto get the word out.

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"We're going to be running some ads and we've created somebanners that credit unions can download for their Web sites," saidKirsten Gardner, a product marketing manager at Galaxy. "We'll alsobe providing some printed literature on it and getting the word outthrough our home banking system.

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"In fact, one of our other clients, TexasOne Community CreditUnion (www.texasoneccu.com), already has a link to Facebookdirectly through their home banking home page," she said.

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Just Getting Started

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Carolina Collegiate and Christian Financial are both still inthe early stages of their deployment.

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Helen Powell, vice president of human resources and businessdevelopment at the Columbia credit union, said that right now justa few of its staffers, part-time employees who are USC students,are using it, and that she'll be using advertisements on the CU'sWeb site and around campus to begin to get the word out.

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Vance at Christian Financial also said the Facebook usageremains within its own staff and that promotion is just beginningto get under way.

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She's optimistic about the results.

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"This is social networking that millions of people use everyday," she said. "It's innovative and it keeps us in the position tobe seen where all these people are interacting, instead of theirhaving to go to another Web site."

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While a Facebook member does not necessarily have to be anonline banker at a credit union to use the Facebook access, somecredit unions are choosing to go that route, said David Reed, aproduct manager at Galaxy.

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He said the Facebook application allows "members to open up afull-blown home banking site without logging in but if they do wantto do that, once they log-in to Facebook they see a 'show me more'button that opens up their full home banking site, which includeseverything, including bill pay."

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The application also allows the Facebook user to have more thanone institution showing on the home page.

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Access to different institutions through the Facebook accountmight lead a user to wonder why he or she can't access all theiraccounts through a single, combined interface point on the socialutility.

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Slavin said that's coming. "Aggregation is on the road map," theGalaxy Business Line senior vice president said.

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Along with functionality, Powell even sees an educationalcomponent to the MyMoney product.

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"I teach a course here at USC and at Midlands Technical Collegeand hear horror stories all the time," the Carolina Collegiate vicepresident said. "We assume because they're very smart andtech-savvy that they understand about finances, too, but it can beintimidating for them at times.

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"Using Facebook this way helps us further educate them abouttheir personal finances in away that they can relate to better thanmany of our traditional ways of doing that," she said.

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Her boss agrees, and sees another bottom line, too.

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"Without question if we want to make sure our credit unioncontinues to survive, we've got to be able to try to balance theneeds of all groups of members and not ignore the needs of thosewho may be younger," said Shivers, the Carolina Collegiatepresident.

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"Just because we don't understand them well doesn't mean we canignore them," she said. "We need to try to find ways to connectwith them, and doing that will help this credit union survive."

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Of course, as the clich?(C) goes, the only constant may bechange, something that Carolina Collegiate also recognizes.

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"We hope our investment in Facebook and its social networkingtools keep us current for the next several years," Shivers said,"but we know we need to stay current and keep an eye on whatevernew mechanisms come along, too."

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