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CU System
Seven students internship Redesign CUs website
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (8/31/09)--Seven seniors at Syracuse University have redesigned Empower FCU's website as part of an internship through the university. Empower, a $794 million asset credit union, told Business Journal (July 31) that it was switching to a new hosting company for its site and decided to redesign it. A credit union employee, who is also a graphics design student at the university, posted signs on campus seeking students interested in working on a redesign. The credit union wanted to appeal to a younger audience and the idea of using students seemed a good one, Empower spokesperson Mary Wilson said in the article. Applicants had to show a portfolio and interview for a slot on the project, said Donna Green, assistant professor of visual and performing arts, who helped coordinate the students' project. The group worked last spring on much of the site's graphic design and gained interview experience, plus experience in dealing with other vendors and working with a real-world client. Empower said it also added a mobile-banking feature during the redesign, so members can access their accounts, perform transfers and pay bills from personal digital assistants and cell phones, said Kelly Sherman, director of market at the credit unions. About 33,000 of Empower's roughly 80,000 members already used its online banking system, which had been in place for years. During the May launch of the mobile-banking feature, 29 members signed up the first week. Now, more than 3,600 are using the mobile feature.


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