Enhancing Access to Banking with Orange County’s Credit Union's New Checking Options

At Orange County’s Credit Union, we work diligently to ensure we’re continuing our vision and mission of providing simple banking for people, not profit. This mission continued in 2023 through the addition of two new checking account offerings.

We’ve received the NCUA Low Income Designation (LID) because a significant population of our Membership meets the low-income thresholds determined by the US Census Bureau, and in 2020 we were certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). With these designations and recognitions, we’re able to offer more inclusive and helpful products and services to support our Members including debt consolidation loans, eviction protection, and auto refinance loans. Additionally, we are able to provide community programs to low-income families in need, such as financial coaching and education.

In our effort of fulfilling our mission to serve the underserved and those who have faced barriers to better banking, our new checking account offerings, federally insured by NCUA, are designed to make banking more accessible for Members in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties while providing an opportunity for financial stability and security throughout every stage of life.

Our two new checking offerings provide Members with more options beyond a traditional checking account, allowing them to bank the way they want and helping them to achieve financial stability. As a not-for-profit financial institution dedicated to the financial well-being of our Members, we strive to help them maintain a positive banking status with these new options.

Our Plus Checking is an account structured with extra measures for overdraft protection, so Members can worry less. It provides peace of mind with added transaction protection for Members who occasionally overdraft by accident, such as those who may have automatic payments set up for recurring bills like utilities, car insurance, memberships, or subscriptions.

It offers layers of protection with its unique, built-in overdraft-only $500 line of credit with a competitive, low interest rate, as well as overdraft protection when the checking account is linked to an eligible savings or other deposit account with fee-free transfers.

Access Checking was specifically designed to cater to individuals who have faced difficulties in opening a checking account at another bank or credit union due to credit history or other financial challenges. This account is ideal for those who may have had to use high-fee banking alternative solutions, such as payday lenders, and will assist Members in establishing or rebuilding a positive relationship with their checking account and financial institution.

True to its name, the account offers access to easy banking, excellent Member service, and financial resources to those who may not have had the opportunity elsewhere. The checking account is checkless in terms of check-writing, but is still a great product for those who need a safe and accessible place to deposit checks they’ve received. Funds are accessible with their debit card, can be withdrawn as cash, or withdrawn with up to two cashier’s checks per day. After 12 months of meeting account requirements, Members have the choice to transition into a Basic Checking account.

All of our checking accounts have several benefits including the option to set up account alerts, a Debit Mastercard®, direct deposit, eStatements, 24/7 mobile app access, our Relationship Rewards Program, access to funds at nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs through our extensive CO-OP network, and access to our Member Resource Center, which provides valuable financial wellness resources such as debt and credit coaching through our partners at GreenPath, webinars, calculators, articles, and guides.

With these new offerings, we aim to fill the gap in products for an underserved population, and to be a helpful financial partner. We’re constantly reviewing feedback from our Members and community to look for new opportunities to better serve them.


About Author:

Amber Cisneros has over 20 years of experience within the financial services sector. Leveraging her intimate knowledge of data analytics, customer insight, content customization, and optimization, Cisneros drives highly targeted and consumer-centric growth strategies and initiatives.

As Chief Member Experience Officer at Orange County’s Credit Union, Cisneros spearheads the vision and execution of the Member experience strategy. She identifies and leads community outreach initiatives to engage key partners, civic officials, and community leaders. With Members at the core of every decision made, Cisneros champions the Credit Union culture of People Helping People, enabling her to put Members at the focal point of her work.

Previously, Cisneros held a variety of senior level positions at both large financial corporations and Fortune 500 companies. While rewarding, her career burgeoned to a point of reflection as she searched for greater purpose in her profession. As a life-long Orange County resident, Cisneros takes great pride in positively influencing her community, and the opportunity to advocate the Orange County’s Credit Union mission has been the most rewarding work of her career.

Cisneros has earned several marketing certifications including Pragmatic Marketing, Agile Marketing, and a Data Driven Marketing Certificate from Cornell University. In 2017, Cisneros was recognized as one of the Top 25 Rising Stars in Marketing and Communications by LIMRA. In addition, Cisneros holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the Art Institute and has passed the FINRA 6, 26, and 63 exams.

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