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Exercise caution in bank search

By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 12, 2000
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With the exit of DM Federal Credit Union, the university is in search of a new banking partner. This banking partner will be responsible for improving on the recent record of the university's banking partners, and ensuring that the bank the university refers its students to is secure. These will be major challenges for any bank, and we should take steps to ensure that the university chooses the new partner wisely.

Having a bank on campus is important for student convenience. Having services on campus is always better than having them off campus, even if these services can be attained just a few hundred yards down University Boulevard. Even if there is a Cost Cutters at the corner of University Boulevard and Park Avenue, students want one on campus. It's natural for students to want one on campus, but it is not necessary that the university provide one.

In the past, the university has done a poor job of choosing banking partners. Our last partner, Saguaro National Credit Union, was taken over by the federal government last year because of their questionable business practices. They were soon replaced by DM Federal Credit Union, which has opted to leave the university. In the past, problems arose as a result of the illegal release of students' social security numbers to Saguaro. In short, the university was referring students to a bank that was not necessarily secure, and that should make us all think about the process of choosing a bank.

We should take as long as necessary to choose a new partner. The process of putting in bids and going through the regulations governing this important choice is expected to take the university a year or more, and this isn't a bad thing. If the university is smart, it will take this time to fully evaluate the candidates for the role of banking partner and be certain that this time, they choose wisely. It has been suggested that the university speed up this process so that they might choose a partner before next semester, but this is a bad idea. If we want to choose well, we have to put some time and effort into the process.

It's better to have no bank at all for a semester than one which may place student security in jeopardy. While student convenience should be a consideration in everything the university does, it should not overshadow student safety. Referring students to a bank that might fold or might need federal intervention is a bad idea. When the university refers students to a banking partner, it puts its reputation on the line with the bank. Before we do that, we must be certain that we can trust the bank.

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