Patelco Credit Union in Pleasanton, Calif., introduced a feature-rich checking account designed to truly enhance member’s financial well-being.
Among the features offered with Patelco’s Plus Checking:
The account is the result of 18 months of research, including focus groups with both members and nonmembers.
“Our members told us what was important, and when we do that we just can’t lose,” says Melissa Morgan, chief retail officer for the $6.6 billion asset credit union.
The impetus for Plus Checking was research from the Federal Reserve that showed 40% of Americans couldn’t afford an unexpected $400 emergency expense—hence the round-up savings on debit card purchases with the 10% match from Patelco.
“That will get members started on saving and move them in the right direction,” Morgan says. “Once that 10% match starts to build up, it will make a real difference.”
The other elements, especially roadside assistance and cell phone replacement, are more about financial peace of mind.
“If you lose your cellphone, it really doesn’t matter what you have in savings, you’re going to spend money to replace it,” Morgan says. “These types of features protect our members going forward.”
While the account includes a monthly fee, it provides substantial value, Morgan says. Purchased separately, the benefits would cost more than $600 annually.
“We were able to package them at a price where our members can’t get them anywhere else,” she says.
Plus Checking, she explains, is “a building block” in Patelco’s structure of products and services.
“We always strive to bring products to our members that are different than they can get elsewhere,” she says.