Today, there are Y&F "spokesters" in eight US states and two Canadian provinces. Like Poplaski, they travel to college campuses, talking to the 18-to-25 crowd about financial responsibility and how credit unions can serve students and recent graduates (with services such as free checking accounts, shared-branch networks, and surcharge-free ATMs).

"You're more apt to just walk into a big bank," Poplaski admits. Which is why part of his task is to demonstrate that "credit unions are a viable option for young people."

ANOTHER LOCAL-BANKING OPTION will pop up close to the University of Southern Maine and downtown this spring; cPort Credit Union plans to demolish the Arby's building near Hannaford and build a new branch, featuring energy-efficient design and bike-friendly access.

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