Central One Federal Credit Union: Adding new technologies to its banking offerings
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury—Central One Federal Credit Union is making its banking services more convenient for its tech-savvy customers with mobile banking apps and social media communications.
Central One got its start in 1952 as a credit union for employees of the New England Electric System and their families, and remained an organizational credit union until 1998, when it changed to a credit union with a community charter. It now serves any customers who live or work in its charter area, from Harvard and Lancaster south to Auburn and Upton, and from Marlborough and Southborough west to Rutland.
As a federally-charted credit union, Central One provides all of the services a bank does—checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, and online banking and bill paying. Checking accounts and debit cards are free. Members can get mortgages and loans through the credit union.
And now, customers can download an application for their mobile phones to make their banking with Central One even easier, said Zachary Daniels, marketing manager.
“Customers can check their balances, do online bill paying, and transfer money between accounts with their smart phones,” he said.
“But the primary benefit is mobile deposits. Customers just take a picture of a check, and the money is deposited into their account, typically within 24 hours. It’s the same technology banks are using and helps level the playing field between us and the banks. It’s just as secure as online banking,” Daniels said.
Central One launched mobile banking at the end of last year.
“The response has been fantastic,” Daniels said. “We were expecting 1,700 users within two years, and we’ve already had almost 3,000 users, 1,200 doing mobile deposits.”
The credit union is also using social media to encourage younger people to become customers, with information on Facebook, Linked In, YouTube and Twitter.
Daniels noted many of Central One’s services are ideal for younger people, including lower rates than many banks on student loans and automobile loans and lower fees on credit cards. “We have all the services a bank does with minimal fees.”
Central One can also provide automobile, renter’s, personal and homeowners’ insurance through its Oak Tree Insurance division, and information on buying and insuring a car through its Auto Advisor division.
To thank all of its customers, Central One is in the middle of its Member Tribute Month running through April at all four branches, with ice cream and hot dogs and raffles for gift cards and electronics. A schedule of events and information is on the website www.centralfcu.com.
A performance by the Pumpernickel Puppets April 27 at the main branch in Shrewsbury will mark the tribute’s grand finale, and everyone who participated in a raffle at any of the branches will be in a drawing that day for a $5,000 vacation to the destination the winner chooses.
Switching from a bank to Central One is easy, Daniels pointed out. “Just call, go online, or come in and we will help you with all the details.” Members can use over 2,000 Sum Network ATMs around the country without charge.
Funds in Central One accounts are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, with IRAs insured separately up to the same amount, similar to the way bank accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
In addition to the branches in Shrewsbury, Auburn, Northborough and Westborough, Central One has a branch in Shrewsbury High School and plans to open a branch in Westborough High School. The credit union offers a class on financial literacy to seniors at Shrewsbury High School and is considering adding other schools.
Central One’s main office is at 714 Main St. in Shrewsbury. For more information, call the main office at 508-842-7400 or one of the branches, or visit the website www.centralfcu.com.
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