Fam­ily bank­ing ac­count had inside ad­vo­cate at the top


Credit Union Journal - - Special Report - BY MICHAEL BARTLETT

THEY SAY NE­CES­SITY IS THE MOTHER OF in­ven­tion, and Todd Har­ris had a need.

Har­ris, the CEO of $2.4 bil­lion Tech­nol­ogy Credit Union, San Jose, Calif., wanted a bet­ter way to in­ter­act fi­nan­cially with his kids. He also was aware of a study by Dough­main that found 81 per­cent of par­ents feel it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to teach kids about money and sav­ing. How­ever, the same study re­vealed only 63 per­cent say their kids have a sav­ings ac­count and a mere 27 per­cent ac­tu­ally bring their kids along when per­form­ing a fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tion.

With that in mind, Tech CU de­vel­oped Fam­ily Bank­ing, which launched in May 2016. The prod­uct is de­signed to sim­plify fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions be­tween fam­ily mem­bers by al­low­ing both a par­ent and child to link their ac­counts, trans­fer money, track bal­ances and mon­i­tor trans­ac­tions — all at no charge.

“Given the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing long-term fi­nan­cial skills, Fam­ily Bank­ing is a tool for par­ents to teach their chil­dren about money,” the credit union ex­plained.

Be­cause Fam­ily Bank­ing al­lows for in­stant de­posits and re­im­burse­ments, the prod­uct elim­i­nates the need for par­ents to have the cor­rect amount of cash on hand each week for al­lowances or to get re­im­bursed for items their kids promised to buy them­selves. A child can eas­ily pay back a par­ent while wait­ing in a check­out line or shop­ping on­line.

De­signed to be as sim­i­lar to the real world as pos­si­ble, the Fam­ily Bank­ing prod­uct aims to help kids ex­pe­ri­ence what it is like to man­age their money. Tech CU hopes Fam­ily Bank­ing will open a chan­nel for par­ents to have an hon­est di­a­logue with their chil­dren about fi­nances.

Tech CU pointed out the tool has broader ap­pli­ca­tions, such as help­ing an adult child mon­i­tor and man­age an el­derly par­ent’s ac­count. It also can en­able par­ents to pay for their col­lege-aged chil­dren’s liv­ing ex­penses.

For chil­dren ages 13 and older, par­ents can open an ac­count on­line or in a branch. Ac­counts for chil­dren ages 10-12 must be opened at a Tech CU branch. Fam­ily Bank­ing is not avail­able to chil­dren un­der 10.

In the first six months, Tech CU mem­bers opened more than 275 ac­counts, which was 37.5 per­cent above the orig­i­nal mar­ket­ing goal. Since then, signups have grown at a “steady pace,” nearly dou­bling since the end of 2016.

“We are so happy to be rec­og­nized for our Fam­ily Bank­ing prod­uct,” Har­ris said. “As a par­ent, I know how tough it can be to have cash on hand for al­lowance, re­mem­ber to get re­im­bursed or have a fi­nan­cial con­ver­sa­tion with my sons. In fact, I pur­posely built the func­tions sur­round­ing Fam­ily Bank­ing with the spe­cific in­tent of us­ing it with my boys. If they want ex­pen­sive shoes, they have to use their own money. I also wanted the prod­uct to be as sim­i­lar to the real world as pos­si­ble, so they could truly ex­pe­ri­ence what it is like to man­age their money. Ev­ery fam­ily I know of that has used Fam­ily Bank­ing loves it.”

Tech CU CEO Todd Har­ris pic­tured with his two sons. The credit union’s Fam­ily Bank­ing prod­uct was Har­ris’ idea based on his want­ing a bet­ter way to in­ter­act fi­nan­cially with his kids.

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