NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.-The oddly-named start-up credit union, Internet Archive FCU, has officially opened for business and has attracted about 70 members so far, according to CEO Jordan Modell.
"Although we had a special grand opening event, it's really been more of a soft roll-out," he told Credit Union Journal.
That's partly because the credit union is still working on some of its products and services. For example, ATM services won't be available until Feb. 15, but basic online banking is already up and running. The launch of online bill pay was just days away at press time, and Directo A Mexico wire service was expected to be ready by the end of the year.
The grand opening, Modell explained, was more for the dignitaries-including the Mexican Consulate General, for example-and the people who helped get the credit union started. A second grand opening that will be geared for the credit union's target market-low-income, underserved Mexican immigrants in New Brunswick and Highland Park, N.J.-is planned for February, when ATM service is rolled out.
That relaunch event will feature live demonstrations of the Directo A Mexico program, allowing people to wire 100 pesos for free so they can see how it works, Modell said. "We'll have local food, and we hope to entice local businesses to be there. We'll also have a financial education seminar in both Spanish and English."
Thus far, the credit union has hired five employees who are cross-trained on the CU*Answers platform. Two were hired from the community Internet Archive is seeking to serve, while the other three are veterans of the credit union movement. Branch hours are 4-8 Monday through Thursday and 9-2 on Saturday. "We'll extend those hours as necessary, but right now, the people we are serving can't take time off from work to come to us, so these hours work for them," he said.
The short-term goal for Internet Archive FCU-which is named for the organization that put up the funding to charter the credit union but is more commonly known as Caja D'oro (Spanish for Box of Gold) within the Mexican immigrant community-is to "just get this right," Modell said.
"We have a bilingual call center, and the website is under construction. We want people to have an experience they can be proud of."
The longer-term goal for next year is to get to 500 members. "Credit Union of New Jersey has been wonderful, making a pledge of $250,000. Others have said they will make big deposits with us, too," Modell related. "We really are striving for controlled growth."