Federal bureau looking at relationship between banks and universities

2:04 PM, Sep 7, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A federal consumer protection bureau has opened an "inquiry" into the relationship between banks and colleges and universities throughout the country, possibly including the University of Minnesota.

Later this month, officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will release their findings based on several months of feedback. Their goal, according to a spokesperson who spoke with KARE 11, is simply to determine whether the arrangements "are in the best interest of students."

Already, the University of Minnesota welcomes the questions and examination of its long-standing relationship with TCF Bank.

"This relationship has been in place since 1995. It has been a wonderful relationship with TCF. They are an excellent partner with the university," said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the Chief Financial Officer of the University of Minnesota.

Pfutzenreuter said the partnership provides convenience for students. The university also receives $1 million a year as part of the partnership -- money Pfutzenreuter said goes directly into student programming.

Pfutzenreuter acknowledged that TCF Bank account holders do enjoy advantages, including combining a student's debit card with his or her university identification card. But Pfutzenreuter said there's no question students retain banking options.

"Our deal here is not mandatory. A student can choose to bank wherever they want," he said.

That question will specifically be explored by the CFPB later this month. In the meantime, University of Minnesota students interviewed by KARE 11 said they remain satisfied with their on-campus banking options.

"You do see advertisements, but other than that, it's not that pressured," said Jaren Floreani, a senior who banks at a credit union.

"I haven't felt pressure to use TCF Bank either," added Daniel Rasske, a freshman.

"I'd say it's pretty useful and convenient for us," said Abhinaya Rajaram Geetha, a freshman.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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