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Usc Credit Union - Trojan Banking: The USC Credit Union

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On the campus of USC, a credit union catering to the USC Trojan family opened in 1973, and is currently a non-profit organization with a membership of over 52,193 and assets of more than $346,000,000. The credit union is served by 71 full-rime employees and 3 part-time employees. The USC Credit Union has one main office and four branch offices with the headquarters and most of the branch offices located on campus. It is a state chartered credit union with each account federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) and administered by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).

The USC Credit Union is the only financial institution with its physical headquarters on the campus of the University of Southern California. It is a financial cooperative within itself, which means it is owned by its members. Because of this factor, the credit union is able to provide lower rates on student, car and personal loans. Profits are also returned to the membership through higher yields on money market and savings accounts as well as IRAs and CDs.

The credit union has established its own full service website where members can utilize the full “Banking from Home” accessibility of the internet. Users have the options of accessing account balances and history, make bill payments, receive direct deposits and transfer money between accounts as well as take advantage of the range of loans available to members.

Although the field of membership is bound by a common bond there is actually a large latitude in their membership. All students, faculty, employees, staff and alumni are eligible for membership as are members of the USC Alumni Association. Any and all persons living, working, attending school or church in the City of Los Angeles proper may join the USC Credit Union. The credit union also extends membership to any businesses or legal entities in the same region. The geographical borders are represented by the city limits. Employees of Woodbury College, Los Angeles Child Guidance, Inc., the Doheny Eye Clinic, John Tracy Clinic, Kenneth Norris Cancer Hospital, the Health Research Association and the Mann Institute working in Los Angeles are also eligible for membership. Family members, domestic partners, live-in caregivers and nannies, roommates and other household members are also welcome to open accounts at the USC Credit Union. Membership is never canceled as long as an account is open even if the person graduates, moves or changes jobs.

Some of the services offered are free checking accounts, 24-hour home banking, and eAlerts. The USC Credit Union also offers special products and services designed especially for the Trojan family. The USC Credit Union has entered into a cooperative effort with other credit unions (The CU Service Centers Network) in creating a network which benefits member of the network. This allows financial transactions at any of the credit unions belonging to the co-op without additional transaction fees. Additional transactions may be conducted at over 25,000 ATMs and over 1800 service centers. There are eight ATM machines located on the campus.

However, a major investigation in some of the credit union practices has recently surfaced. In May of 2010, a complaint of fraud and extortion was filed with the FBI against USC Credit Union’s President Gary Perez and Vice President Christine Schwarz, along with others at the USC Credit Union. The complaint alleges that there is compelling evidence of collusion between the USC Credit Union with Countrywide and later Bank of America Corporation and the essence of the charge is real estate fraud against a Los Angeles county resident, Dr. Joseph Zernik and his property in Beverly Hills, California. The complaint alleges that during the period of November-December 2007, USC Credit Union conducted transactions in Dr. Zernik’s accounts without his authorization. The case is pending with an active investigation still underway.

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