New Altura Checking Account Helps People Get Back on Their Feet(Riverside, Calif.) – Altura Credit Union recently launched a checking account designed to help people get back on their feet financially. This new product addresses a local economy still lagging in its return to normalcy, and is designed to help the individuals caught in its wake. The new Reliance Checking Account comes with a regular Visa® Debit Card, online banking, mobile banking and eStatements. Altura is the largest credit union headquartered in Riverside County. As anyone in the Inland Empire knows, the last few years have been rather difficult for people and local businesses. Unemployment is still well above the national average and two points above the state’s average. Local foreclosure rates were among the highest in the nation and continue to be the fifth highest in the state. Like many in the Inland Empire, Altura faced challenges during these trying economic times. Having made changes that strengthened Altura’s financial position, the credit union is able to refocus on the community and do what credit unions were founded to do – offer help and financial alternatives “We are offering a new beginning to people by providing a tool for recovery,” said Jennifer Binkley, Altura Chief Operating Officer. “The Inland Empire, where Altura is headquartered, has been slow to bounce back from the economic downturn. Many local residents have been left with credit problems and a negative credit history. Traditional banks turn them away, not just for loans, but also when applying to open a checking or savings account. Can you imagine having no access to ATMs, no resources for paying bills, no relationship with a financial institution?” Altura’s Reliance Checking is specifically designed to assist individuals who have financial difficulties, unpaid closures and negative history reported to ChexSystems®. The vast majority of financial institutions in the U.S. use ChexSystems to review how a consumer has handled their accounts in the past when applying for a new account. A negative report usually results in a denial to open a new account. “This is an area where we want to assist,” Binkley added. “Credit unions were created to do exactly this kind of thing. Our Reliance Checking is a temporary solution that can evolve into a regular Altura account. This checking account will have an immediate impact on people’s lives. It will make managing the financial portion of their lives a lot easier and provide a path to a traditional account.” Using the Reliance Checking Account, Members can recover and rebuild their financial status, and become eligible for other checking accounts and financial services that Altura offers. It comes with a Visa Debit Card that looks exactly like every other card Altura issues – no red flags to embarrass cardholders. It also comes with access to an educational program and support to help Members reestablish themselves. The account has a $10 monthly service fee. After six months of positive account activity, and after having paid off an outstanding checking account-related debit (as reported by ChexSystems), Reliance Checking account holders are eligible to move to the next level in financial recovery – the Renew Checking Account. This account has no minimum balance requirements, allows Members to write personal checks, and adds ATM deposit access. After six months of positive Renew account activity, members become eligible for any Altura checking account. “With these tools, people can establish or reestablish a relationship with a respected, stable financial institution. And Altura is happy to be that institution,” adds Binkley. “This isn’t something we had to do, but something we believe is the right thing to do. To put it simply, it’s needed and it will help.” For more information about Altura Credit Union’s Reliance Checking Account, visit Altura’s website at AlturaCU.com. Altura is very proud of its 56 years of service to Members in the Inland Empire. Today Altura is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in Riverside and San Diego counties, as well as selected cities in Orange and San Bernardino counties. Altura Credit Union, www.alturacu.com, has been recognized with the California Award for Performance Excellence (CAPE), the state’s equivalent of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Today, Altura Credit Union serves nearly 95,000 members and has $708 million in total assets. For more information on Altura, visit our website, www.alturacu.com, or call 1-888-883-7228.
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