Maine Business School alumnus Matt Kaubris, president and CEO of Oxford Federal Credit Union, is on a mission to change the way young adults think about cooperative financial institutions.
“Young people may not understand the philosophy and history behind the credit union movement and the difference between credit unions and banks,” says Kaubris, who earned an M.B.A. in 1985. “Credit unions are a great option for young people starting out with their own financial independence. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, a credit union can offer a full line of financial products and services at a very competitive price. They typically offer lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings and fewer or lower fees. We think that is a great combination for young people just starting out when every penny counts.”
In keeping with his goal to spread the word about credit unions, Kaubris has embarked on several initiatives. For several years, OFCU sponsored a Financial Fitness Fair that teaches high school students to live within a budget of their chosen careers. Kaubris recently hired OFCU’s first-ever summer intern to work closely with members of his management team in accounting, human resources, and marketing. And, he is promoting a new North American credit union movement called “Young and Free” which aims to attract one million new members between ages 20-25 by offering promotions for free products and services and providing financial advice to young adults using on-line social media sites.
Kaubris says he is happy to have an intern on board. “We hope to provide a very challenging and stimulating work environment for our summer intern, involving them in many areas of our operations. When the program is completed, we hope the intern will leave with a better understanding of credit unions and consider a career in the credit union industry.”
He is excited to help launch Young and Free in Maine and continue his mission to attract the next generation of credit union members. Through the program, a state’s credit unions pool their resources to hire a college graduate to act as a financial spokesperson who travels the state.
“This is a wonderful way to engage young members,” says Kaubris. “OFCU has included a link on our website to the Young and Free program and plans to invite the spokesperson to visit and participate in credit union-sponsored activities in western Maine.”
Kaubris, who has been at OFCU since 1995, was vice president of finance for three years prior to taking the top position. “It was the best move I ever made,” says Kaubris, who worked as a cost accountant for the James River Paper Co., in New Hampshire and as a business manager at the Rumford/Mexico public school system. He learned about credit unions while serving on the OFCU volunteer supervisory committee and quickly became a passionate advocate of all things “credit union.”
“Credit unions are the best secret around,” he says. “Because they have no stock holders, they answer only to their members who really feel that their voices are being heard. Anyone who lives, works, or worships in Oxford County can join OFCU. It takes only $5.00 to open an account and become a full-fledged member with all voting rights. The credit union industry in Maine is poised to do great things. For Maine business students, working at a credit union is a good career to consider. It’s as rewarding as working in a big financial district, but you get to apply your business skills in a Main Street setting rather than in a Wall Street setting.”
Kaubris, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maine, praises the Maine Business School for helping him acquire the skills, education and confidence to succeed in the financial world. “I enjoyed the classes and working on projects with my fellow MBA students. I particularly remember Professor Guvenc Alpander’s organizational development class. I found it fascinating. I always knew I liked the numbers part of business, but that was when I realized I liked the human piece too. I enjoyed seeing how everything came together in the workplace.”
Kaubris lives in Rumford with his wife, Pamela, who graduated in 1981 from UMaine with a bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary sciences.
Image Description: Matt Kaubris