Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

University Credit Union celebrates one year on campus

Katelyn Wiggins

Posted on January 25, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

By Raquel Miller

On Jan. 19, the University Credit Union celebrated their one year anniversary of opening on the Gorham Campus with a birthday bash featuring games, cakes, and prize raffles at its location in the Brooks Student Center.  This celebration exemplifies the ways in which the University Credit Union has created a positive presence on campus and within the community by giving back.   

Since their opening in January of 2015, the Gorham location has experienced significant growth. The convenience of location makes this branch not only accessible, but comforting. This branch, among six others throughout Maine, is immersed in the USM community which gives students a financial resource right on campus.  From offering financial literacy and clarity on creating budgets, or advice on student loans, the UCU provides a resource for students to understand the potentially intimidating financial world to not just students, but alumni, employees, and family members of students.

Head of Campus Development at UCU, Lesley Ridge emphasizes that with this location directly on the Gorham Campus, she is able to build relationships with individuals because they see her on a day to day basis as she works in her office in Brooks Center.  Unlike the unfamiliarity of a local bank, Ridge is a familiar face for students and parents alike. She has also commented that she frequently provides information and resources to parents of USM students who find their presence reassuring.

Ridge witnesses students grow and tackle problems as they evolve from uninformed freshman to mature, knowledgeable adults.  Aria Northrop, a Junior Social and Behavioral Science Major at USM is a campus resident, and began using UCU services about six months ago.  

“My experience with UCU has been great.  When I came to them expressing that I wanted a savings account so I could set up direct deposit from my work study job here on campus–they were more than helpful.”  Since becoming a member, Aria, knowing little about the intricacies of personal finance was able to utilize UCU resources, gaining important knowledge.

Individuals gather Unlike your local bank or credit union, the UCU is tailored for the needs of students.  In the fall of 2013, Dan Welter, Chief of Staff for Community Life, remembers one crucial element in the proposals to bring a financial institution like the UCU to campus: emphasis on preparing students for financial success now and in the future.

The University Credit Union mission statement is “to actively advance the financial well-being of our members in every stage of their lives.”  Like their mission statement, the UCU Gorham branch has established a presence on campus and created a solid foundation for significant growth.  As a student, like Aria Northrop, or as a parent, there is great comfort in knowing that there are resources available on campus to help prepare students for their days in college and for life challenges that follow.