MU credit union adds features

The service’s new plan will offer debit cards and fewer fees.
Thursday, August 17, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:42 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

College students are notorious for spending more money than they have. A handful of new services at MU’s student-run credit union could be the solution to that problem.

Members of the Tigers Credit Union, formerly known as the Missouri Student Federal Credit Union, can now access their accounts online and make routine transactions at ATMs free of charge. In the past, both services carried access fees.

The credit union is also offering debit cards for the first time. And plans call for it to offer credit cards soon.

“We felt the changes were important for students,” CEO Christos H. Cossyphas said. “They expect to open an account and have a card in their hands. It’s also safer to do it this way for security reasons.”

Because the cards are produced in-house, members can get their new cards in minutes, Cossyphas said.

The debit cards have been a big draw for recruiting potential members.

“When people came in to inquire about setting up an account, 90 percent wouldn’t open one because we didn’t have debit cards,” said Ryan Chojnacki, operations manager and MU senior. “Now the majority of people who come to inquire open an account.”

In addition to the debit cards, which feature the MasterCard logo and provide access to 25,000 ATMs through the CO-OP Network, Tigers Credit Union has dropped the charges for several of its services.

The credit union has also joined the Shared Branch Network, which allows members to make routine transactions at the more than 2,200 affiliated credit unions.

“This enables us to have branches around the country without having to build a branch,” Cossyphas said.

He said the credit union plans to offer a credit card for its members by the end of the year.

Retaining members after graduation has been a challenge for the credit union. Cossyphas said he expected the new services would help change that.

Kate Crews, a recent graduate who now works as a mortgage broker, has benefited from the changes.

“Before, I was on campus enough that I could just check in. Now, I use the free online service, which is an improvement for me as I do all of my other business stuff online,” she said.

Tigers Credit Union, like all credit unions, is a nonrofit institution and is the only student-run credit union in the state and one of only five in the country. It has around 1,200 members, in addition to the 30 new members added last month. Eligible members have to be MU students, alumni and family members. The credit union was chartered in 1984.

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