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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

U.S. Bank at the Memorial Union still under negotiations

The Memorial Union may be getting a new addition to take over the East Conference Rooma U.S. Bank.

Though no contract has yet been reached, the university has been in talks with ASUCD President Ivan Carrillo to try to reach a consensus. Carrillo hosted a town hall style meeting on Jan. 26 to inform students about the situation and hear ideas and concerns. Carrillo said roughly 40 students attended the meeting.

“There was no consensus, opinions were across the board,Carrillo said.It was good because [Brett] Burns was there, he is one of the main people involved in the discussions so it was good for him to hear the opinion of students.

The possible addition would be a complete branch only smaller in size than most banks. Patrons would be able to open accounts, make deposits and even take out loans. It would have to comply with university policies, which does not allow credit card solicitation.

Some have questioned whether a U.S. Bank in the MU is necessary when there is already a branch located at 304 F St. downtown.

Kathleen Tan, a junior economics and psychology double major, has a U.S. Bank account but doesn’t think she would use a branch at the MU.

“I think it’s pretty unnecessary because downtown is easy to get to,she said.We do use the East Conference Room for a lot of events and meetings and I think that there are other ways to get funds [for the university]. I don’t think this is necessarily the best idea.

Janet Gong, associate vice chancellor of students, disagrees. She thinks that a branch at the MU would allow more student attention and easy access.

“I think it’s a convenience and I think it helps keep students on campus without the distractions of commuting,Gong said.

According to Googlemaps.com, the 0.9-mile commute from the MU to the downtown U.S. Bank takes approximately 17 minutes on foot.

“It’s not a lot different than what we have at the MU already, a post office, Campus Copies, travel agency, some of those run by ASUCD … it creates more employment opportunities on campus and makes an array of services geared toward student use,Gong said.

Gong said that once a contract is signed, it would take only three to four months to move forward with plans to add the branch to the MU. The university would receive a one time signing bonus of $300,000 in the ten-year contract and an additional $190,000 per year, according to both Gong and Carillo.

“The signing bonus is a one time payment that is fairly characteristic of these types of partnerships with corporate partners,Gong said.

This bonus would go into MU Reserves, and the annual sum may go into such areas as Inter-Collegiate Athletics and Campus Recreation, though discussions are still continuing regarding allocations of those funds.

Gong said that conversations are on-going with all parties. The university is speaking with ASUCD and Campus Unions and Recreation Board separately from U.S. Bank representatives, she said.

“We have continued to have conversations in good faith with ASUCD and with our students in general,Gong said.These conversations are very productive and ongoing.

Carrillo is hopeful that the university will be able to reach an agreement in the near future.

“I will say that it is progressing … they are receptive to every concern I’ve brought to them,Carrillo said.

 

ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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