A partnership just doesn’t happen overnight. There is exploration, research, engagement and a declaration. And so it was on July 1, when Wescom Credit Union became the UCLA Alumni Association’s official banking partner.
Our introduction began six years ago, in 2015, when UCLA Athletics and the Rose Bowl stadium first recruited Wescom as their financial institution. It made sense given the expiration of Athletics’ banking contract at that time and Wescom’s home office being in Pasadena. From there, Wescom’s influence on campus grew, when they attained the naming rights to Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom in 2018 and opened a branch in Ackerman Union the following year. It was then Wescom set their sights on the largest, most influential segment of the UCLA community — UCLA Alumni.
At first, we knew little about the SoCal credit union, having only been partnered with large banking institutions in recent decades. Entering into a banking partnership, which meant financial exclusivity, joint brand exposure and a long term commitment, required a lot more familiarity. We quickly learned we shared three major things in common:
- We were both established in 1934
- Our primary presence is in Southern California
- We both wanted to help the UCLA community build and sustain a better future
We sought mutually beneficial terms, established trust and extended good-faith efforts to better the other, and ourselves. It began with Wescom’s sponsorship of longstanding traditions like the Beat ’SC Bonfire and Rally and Spring Sing. It continued with their support of UCLA Alumni’s Leadership Conference, New Bruin Send-offs, game watch parties and UCLA Volunteer Day. They also got involved with University partners like Campus Life and Recreation’s Move-in Fair and the UCLA Store, when Wescom offered a 0% interest technology loan last August to help struggling students, faculty, staff and alumni with remote work and instruction.
Perhaps the most meaningful sign of Wescom’s commitment to Bruin success is their investment into two key alumni initiatives: Diversity Network Scholarships and Alumni Career Programs. As part of their commitment to advancing financial wellness for all Bruins, The Wescom Foundation will provide financial scholarships over the next seven years, starting with $50,000 in 2021, for qualifying students across several diversity alumni networks, including those representing American Indian, Asian Pacific, Black, Pilipino, LGBTQ+, Latino, Muslim, undocumented, first-generation, veteran and mixed populations. Like the Association, Wescom believes that “removing financial barriers to higher education is an important step in closing the racial wealth gap and dismantling longstanding inequities that prohibit many from achieving their dreams.”
Wescom is demonstrating their vested interest in seeing the Bruin community thrive.
The other key sponsorship benefits both alumni and students impacted by the pandemic. To start, Wescom has granted $25,000 this year towards critical career programs, namely the Young Alumni Career Launchpad and the Career Coaches series. The former helps alumni and students build their résumés, networking and interview skills, while the latter are monthly virtual workshops designed for alumni with different career experiences. In fact, since Wescom first began their partnership with UCLA six years ago, they’ve hosted more than 50 financial education seminars and workshops on topics ranging from investing for retirement and tax management to home buying and peer-to-peer coaching.
Taken altogether, these initiatives move beyond the traditional corporate-education partnership. Wescom is demonstrating their vested interest in seeing the Bruin community thrive. “Building better lives is at the core of who Wescom Credit Union is,” said Darren Williams, President and CEO of Wescom Credit Union, “and as the official banking partner of the UCLA Alumni Association, we are committed to making a difference in the UCLA community.”
Wescom UCLA credit cards
Of course, the UCLA Alumni Association wouldn’t enter into a partnership with Wescom were it not for access to better financial options for Bruins. The new Bruin Edge and Bruin Choice Visa® Credit Cards offered by Wescom are specially designed for UCLA alumni, students, faculty, staff and fans to reflect Bruin pride and the Bruin experience whenever they use their card. The cards feature a customized UCLA rewards program, which provides cardholders with an opportunity to win exclusive prizes every month, get special access to UCLA events and experiences, and earn rewards — five points for every dollar spent at featured UCLA and Rose Bowl Stadium merchants, including the UCLA Store, Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and Rose Bowl stadium concessions, ASUCLA restaurants on campus, and season or single-game tickets through UCLA Athletics. Plus, they’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent anywhere else Visa is accepted. Cardholders have the option to redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel options, merchandise or entertainment, or to be donated to select UCLA nonprofit organizations. As a new cardholder, Bruins can get up to $500 cash back when spending a minimum of $2,500 in the first three months, 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers in the first six months, plus no annual fee.
In addition to these credit card services, Wescom offers auto loans, home loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) and tech loans with competitively low interest rates, which are open to all Bruins.
As the campus reemerges from lockdown and into its next century, this Wescom-UCLA Alumni banking partnership through 2028 represents a new era of opportunity, scholarship and investment into Bruin futures. “We’ve established a relationship compatible with our goals for equity, diversity and inclusion;” said Julie Sina, CEO, UCLA Alumni Association, “One that values the financial welfare and overall well-being of the UCLA community; and one that acknowledges Bruins for their loyalty and support of the University.”