TCF Bank University?

Students should examine the stadium deal as closely as their checking accounts.

Amid the excitement of freshman orientation – registering for classes for the first time and meeting future classmates – all students were told the benefits of opening a TCF Bank “free” checking account and given the option to do so at a University U Card office that also facilitated TCF Bank transactions. However, the so-called “convenience” becomes more of a headache for many students and brings into question the University’s relationship with the institution.

The intimacies between banks and universities are a nationwide trend that broadens financial institutions’ presence on campuses. Banks hope to foster lifelong customers while they are young, while the universities benefit from sponsorships, scholarships and ad royalties that banks provide.

Since 1995 TCF Bank has been the exclusive provider of banking services tied to the campus student card – the U Card – at the University’s Twin Cities and Duluth campuses, but the University is unique in its relationship with TCF in that it would name its own football stadium after the financial institution.

Under the naming rights deal with TCF, the University certainly is looking to take their relationship a step further, but is this a good thing for students?

TCF is notorious for frequent complaints that the bank takes advantage of students through overdraft fees and poor customer service. If these accusations are true, it calls into question the idea of naming the Gophers stadium after such a business. State Sen. Larry Pogemiller, a DFLer who represents the University, would like to see a bill passed that would prevent any corporate naming deals and prohibit the University from paying for the building with student fees.

In a time when everything seems to be up for sale, it is mandatory for the University to make sure that it does not lose its identity in the money shuffle. Making fair and responsible deals includes taking into consideration what is best for the students that make up the University. The stadium indeed will represent the University, but will TCF?