Huntington Bank, eager to do business with college students, has reached a five-year agreement with the University of Toledo to expand its on-campus banking program there.
The Columbus-based bank will open a branch in the Gateway development at Dorr Street and Secor Road, replace its current full-service branch in the Student Union with a larger and more prominently located office, and add ATMs on all university campuses.
Huntington is also giving the university $150,000 to go toward scholarships and financial literacy training.
For UT, the agreement means another opportunity to educate students about personal finances, something Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, president of the university, said is “tremendously important.”
Curricular development for the training is under way but hasn’t been completed.
“Ultimately this will probably be available both in a classroom and in an online modality. This is a great thing they do,” he said.
How much of the money will go toward scholarships and how those scholarships will be allotted have not been decided. However, the program is expected to be in place by fall.
Huntington has some form of relationship with about 90 colleges and universities across its business territory. In a high-profile deal announced last year, Huntington paid Ohio State University $25 million to become the school’s official bank.
Part of the reason Huntington likes partnering with universities is that they are often one of an area’s primary economic catalysts, said David Schamer, director of not-for-profit banking at Huntington.
But more than that, it’s a way for Huntington to reach new, and in some cases, first-time consumers.
Mr. Schamer said Huntington isn’t looking to get rich quickly off college students, but instead build lasting relationships with them.
“We’re just trying to make sure we’re serving them, not hitting them with fees, not jamming credit cards to them,” Mr. Schamer said. “We want to maintain them as customers when they graduate from schools like Toledo. A large percentage of those graduates will stay in our footprint.”
Huntington says that’s part of the reason it wants to make funds available to increase students’ financial knowledge.
Mr. Schamer said many college students could benefit from a course in even the most basic personal finance items.
“At that time in people’s lives, I think they’re just learning about things like credit, how to balance a checkbook, how to balance their money and budget,” he said.
Though it is providing the $150,000 toward that, Huntington said it won’t have any input into the specifics of how the money is allotted.
The Gateway branch intends to serve UT students and employees, as well as the community at large.
Huntington officials said that branch, as well as the revamped branch inside the Student Union, should be open within a couple of months.
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