news.cuna.org/articles/106533-cus-spirit-card-cements-member-relationships
Spirit Debit Card

CU’s ‘Spirit’ Card Cements Member Relationships

Student artwork on CU debit card builds community spirit.

July 3, 2015

Above: Traeveon Reese, second from left, will have his artwork featured on a Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward Card. A school receives 10 cents each time their school’s card is used to make a purchase.

A Texas credit union has found that placing high school students’ artwork on its debit card not only is aesthetically pleasing, doing so helps the credit union connect with the community and members it serves.

Texas Trust Credit Union in Mansfield recently announced that high school students Traeveon Reese and Martha Estrada will be the latest to have their artwork featured on the Texas Trust Spirit Debit Reward Card.

“This program is about building community spirit and taking us back to the day where people could rally around the fact that we’re all part of this community,” says Robert Underwood, vice president of marketing at the $880 million asset credit union. “We’re all one unit and we’re all united.”

Spirit Debit Card
Martha Estrada, fourth from left in the front row, will have her artwork featured on a Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward Card.

Texas Trust introduced the Spirit Debit card in 2008 featuring the credit union’s corporate design. But in 2010, the credit union used student artwork for the first time.

Since then, 14 students from four school districts have had their artwork featured on the cards.

Since 2011, the cards have acted as a fund-raising tool when a reward component was added to the cards. Today, schools receive 10 cents each time their particular card is used to make a purchase.

Since the launch of the Spirit Debit Reward card, Texas Trust has paid $840,905 to schools in five districts.

Schools receive a monthly check to spend however they wish, whether it’s for new books, teacher programming, or students assistance.

“With the spirit cards, we’re able to help the schools unite people in their community. We help spread community cohesiveness by featuring the hometown team on the debit card they use,” Underwood says. “And they know that when they are using the cards, they’re giving back.”

The card isn’t just about helping the schools financially, though.

Underwood says it’s also been an opportunity for the credit union to spread its name and build relationships within the districts in a variety of ways, such as leading financial education classes for students and parents, or helping those in search of a financial institution.

Building relationships with leaders in the schools and demonstrating that the credit union is working for the good of the whole community are key to being successful, Underwood says.

“It comes down to building relationships,” Underwood says. “It’s all about people helping people.”