Frequently Asked Questions

HomeCommunityFundraisingFrequently Asked Questions

1.  How is Westerra Credit Union different from other financial institutions?

  • Westerra Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that exists to serve members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to members (all who have accounts at the credit union) in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits and lower fees. 

2.  Is Westerra our school district credit union?

  • Westerra is the school district credit union for Jeffco Public Schools, Denver Public Schools and Douglas County Schools, and works closely with other schools throughout the Denver metro area.  Originally organized by teachers, Westerra is committed to financial education through making presentations in classrooms, providing grants to schools and helping students and families learn money management skills.
  • Since its origin in schools, Westerra membership has expanded to be available to everyone in the Denver metro area. 

3.  Why does Westerra pay for referrals to use their services?

  • Most people who join the credit union say they did so because they were referred by another member.  Building upon this loyalty, the credit union launched a 5280 Program (emphasizing our local ownership) which pays school sports/activities, and community organizations, for referring their friends and family.  
  • Using this referral incentive as a donation is our way of giving back to the community and thanking the sport/activity for referring the credit union to their constituents.

4.  Why does Westerra support school sports and activities?

  • Many Westerra employees are parents of students in our schools.  It was as a result of participation in other sport/activity fundraisers that the idea of donating our $52.80 referral incentive to the school sport/activity was created.  It was then expanded to help support other community groups, too.
  • It is important to Westerra to support the students and families in our schools, and in our community.  This is one way that we can direct more funds to programs and activities that might not otherwise be possible.
  • Encouraging students to utilize the credit union for their first checking account supports our mission of financial literacy – introducing students to the credit union concept at a young age.

5.  How do we get started?

  • Simply let us know the school sport/activity or community organization you would like to use this for and we will provide a customized email and flyers for distribution. Each are customized by school and by sport or activity, or for your community organization.
  • You then simply forward the email to your distribution list, or distribute flyers, through the booster club, committee chairperson or other designated coordinator. 
  • Westerra does not obtain any email addresses. We simply provide the customized email (and flyers) for distribution by the person responsible for fundraising for a specific sport or activity, so they can send it to their specific group of parents.

6.  How and when do we receive our donations?

  • Westerra will issue a check to your program every quarter - shortly after March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31. 
  • The sport/activity or community organization is not required to have an account at the credit union.

7.  How do we ensure we get credit for our referrals?

  • When a person referred by your program opens an account, they should mention the school and the program, or the community organization, they would like the funds directed to. 
  • The $52.80 bonus will then automatically be recorded in the system for payment to the team/activity.

8.  Does the person opening an account at Westerra receive a $52.80 bonus, too?

  • The $52.80 bonus is given to the organization requested, not to individuals.  
  • In the early days of this program, individuals did receive a cash bonus, too. The program was then expanded to help generate more funds for the school sport/activity, or community organization, by offering the opportunity to gain $52.80 donations for more products or services at the credit union. The change also simplified the tracking process for participating organizations.
  • Today, $52.80 donations are made to the designated school sport/activity, for any loan, savings or checking account opened at the credit union (with the exception of an adult share/savings account). 

9.  Can this program be used in elementary schools?

  • Yes, the email and flyers will be adapted to younger students by excluding student checking accounts from the offer.

10.  What activities can the program be used for?

  • Possibilities include all sports as well as marching band, clubs, PTA, After Prom or any other school-related program. Community organizations can also use this program to raise funds. Just let us know how you would like to use the program, and we will customize an email and flyer.

11.  Can Westerra customize the debit card for our school or community organization?

  • Yes, the debit cards can include your school name, logo, colors and mascot - or your organization's logo.
  • For school debit cards, we will provide a sample to the school principal for review prior to including it in the fundraising materials.
  • Offering a debit card can help build school spirit!

       Sample High School debit card

12.  Why should a high school student open a checking account at Westerra?

  • Westerra checking accounts are designed to help students learn to manage their money—without fees. 
  • All Westerra checking accounts are set up so that if there are not funds in the account to cover a debit card or ATM transaction, the transaction will simply be denied.  Without checks, there is no possibility of overdrafts. (Start with only a debit card and add checks later, if you choose.)
  • Students will need an account for scholarship funds, heading to college or their first job.  
  • Students can utilize their Westerra accounts no matter where they go to college or go to work. Credit unions share their branches - there are more than 200 credit union Shared Branches in Colorado and 5,000 nationwide where they can access their Westerra accounts.
  • They have access to cash at 1000 free ATMs in Colorado and 30,000 nationwide.

To get started, simply contact us 303-329-4518 or We will then customize an email and flyers for your distribution to help raise funds for your high school sport/activity or community organization.

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