Howard Students Want In!

by Illai Kenney, Southeast Student Organizer

The Howard University Employees Federal Credit Union (HUEFC) is open to Howard University employees and their relatives.  The credit union currently has 2,770 members and has holdings of 9 million dollars.  The credit union began in 1935 and has never in its history allowed students to become members.  We are in the process of changing this!  Recently a member of the board of trustees for the credit union fell in love with the idea of having student members.  I was able to present the idea of student membership to this board member and she was excited about the potential of students to become members.

As a financial institution HUEFC offers line of credit services and savings accounts to its members among a few other services.  Students could benefit greatly from the opportunity to save with a financial institution that invests in the community around it.  Howard University has a student body of approximately 7,000 undergraduate students that could be served by the credit union.

The request that the board of trustees consider allowing students to become members of the HUEFC was met with a few concerns.   The most important being the potential for students to take out loans and not repay them.  This concern could be addressed by limiting the capacity of student membership or altering the loan requirements so that they are not a good fit for students who would be unlikely to repay them.  From the report back I was given about the meeting of the board of trustees there was not much consideration given to the idea of students becoming members.

Going forward the plan is to work to make more board members see the value of student members.  Students can help the credit union expand and the credit union can help teach students about successful banking and saving.  In the next month a formal request will be submitted to the board of trustees by one of its members essentially asking that the board give full consideration to having student members.  This request will be supported by documentation of others schools and credit unions that successfully allow student membership.

The goal is to have the board see the value of students as members and give the idea actual discussion.  Another goal of the proposal is to get the board to consider offering more services to its members.  The limited services the credit union offers to its current members has stunted the effectiveness and growth of the credit union in some ways.  The HUEFC not providing basic services like checking accounts to its members forces those who are eligible to become members, but need checking accounts and not just savings accounts or lines of credit to either bank with two financial institutions or opt not to become a member of HUEFC.  Expanding the services offered would allow the HUEFC to better serve the Howard University community and going further to allow students to join the HUEFC would maximize the credit union’s positive impact on the Howard University community.

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