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New champion's account piggy backs on hero success at First Citizens.

The hero charity checking account, unveiled two years ago by the $475 million First Citizens' Federal Credit Union in Massachusetts to honor the military, now has a successor product, the champion account, which recognizes law enforcement, firefighters and emergency personnel.

The Fairhaven, Mass. CU, which serves Cape Cod, said that because of the success the hero account, its new, similar product will also provide lower interest rates, free check orders, free ATM transactions and other benefits to "the men and women in the community who are providing extraordinary service."

"This new community-based initiative comes as a direct result of the hero program and because of the enthusiastic response to it, First Citizens' has been able to donate over $40,000 to local veterans organizations to assist in the care and rehabilitation of our heroes," said Peter Muise, First Citizens' president/CEO.

Under Champions, First Citizens' is establishing the family champion scholarship fund. For each new account opened, First Citizens' will deposit $10 to benefit the children of champion account members.

In addition, First Citizens' will deposit $10 into the scholarship fund for each new auto, mortgage or home equity loan for champion checking accountholders. A minimum of two new $1,000 scholarships is to be awarded each year.

The champion scholarships will complement the CU's current scholarship program, which awards nine $1,000 scholarships to local high school seniors.

Aside from favorable rates, free checks and no minimum balance, other champion benefits include bonus dividends based on minimum balances; CD rate bonuses, free bill pay, online banking, e-statements and free special-image Visa check cards that reflect each profession.

First Citizens' noted that its scholarship and hero programs have returned a $100,000 to the community in scholarships and grants. "With the addition of the champion program, First Citizens' has signaled its intention to remain at the leading edge of community banking," the CU said.

--jrubenstein@cutimes.com
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Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Nov 4, 2009
Words:317
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