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SAN JOSE, CA – March 16, 2018

Meriwest Announces the Winners of the 2017-18 Essay Competition

Meriwest Executives meet with Essay Winners

Each year for the annual High School essay competition, Meriwest Credit Union asks young members to think outside the box and provide a different perspective of how they view a credit union. The Annual Competition is designed to motivate and support high school students in grades 9-12 who are planning to continue their academic achievements in college. This year, they were posed the question:  Given the shift to “all things digital” in the financial world, do you feel that branches are still relevant, and if so, how?  

Considering youth spend considerable time interacting via social media, it was nice to hear from our students that branches symbolize a sense of community and the face to face experience does matter.  They discussed the human factor providing many advantages to include problem resolution, the experience of opening your first account, and obtaining advice on money matters. A quote from one of our winners read “People trust in other people; they don’t build trust with technology itself.”

“It’s encouraging to see that students today are definitely in tune with the community and social aspect.  From a credit union perspective or from a life perspective, these students believe there are human capabilities that technology cannot replace.  This generation is much more social and collective as well as seeking partnerships and alliances in determining their financial future” said Tony Cortez, SVP and Chief Experience Officer. 

Our First Place high school senior, Carolyn B. discussed the importance of viewing the existence of both branch and digital channels as complementary rather than exclusive.  Ultimately, having more flexibility in the financial world will accommodate the diversity among clients by giving them the chance to approach things however they are capable and foster greater inclusivity of all clients.

“This year’s recipients of the essay competition truly raised the bar with an amazing ability to fully appreciate that the human factor is still relevant in the world of finance.  In the world of digitization, chat bot and artificial intelligence, it is reassuring to hear from our essay winners the importance of human interaction and the experience derived from a trusted source of information said Julie Kirsch, President and CEO. Meriwest is committed to our core values of social responsibility and creating an experience for our members as first impressions do matter.

essay contest winners
Photo Caption:  Tony Cortez, SVP and Chief Experience Office (left) and Julie Kirsch, President and CEO (right) are shown here with seven of our winners; Anthony C., Rashi R., Nikhita S.,  Andrew Q., Carolyn R., Annika K., and Sabrina R.  

About Meriwest Credit Union

Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley’s largest and established financial institutions, has been providing proactive, personal, convenient and innovative financial services to over 72,000 businesses and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona, for more than 50 years. More information can be found at

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