How Excite Credit Union primes the pump for college education

The Silicon Valley credit union plans to create “a college mindset” with a $25-a-pop savings plan.

Excite Credit Union($492.8M, San Jose, CA) wants to help make college an attainable goal for the children of its lower-income members, and it’s banking on a special new savings account to do that.

Called “Step Up Savings,” the credit union makes an initial deposit of $50 when the account is opened at a branch or remotely at a community event or school. It then matches up to $25 in deposits every year and contributes $25 to the account when the child turns 5, 10, 15, and 18. On balances up to $2,500, Excite offers an interest rate of 5%.

The credit union launched Step Up Savings in November 2019 as a follow-up to a similar account that debuted in early 2019. That account quickly attracted about 900 participants but wasn’t heavily reaching the market the credit union had primarily targeted: low-income families. The Step Up Account, which adds the annual match and birthday bonus, already has attracted a couple dozen takers in its first few weeks.


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