Embracing financial education programs leads to many positive returns for credit unions because they’re seen as do-gooders in the community. Financial education advocates, like Executive Director Courtney Moran of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, says it exemplifies the credit union motto.
“By providing financial education—what some would view as an above-and-beyond service—you’re creating lifelong members; together building a foundation based on trust,” said Moran. “It’s no small thing to entrust strangers with your funds, while also taking cues on how to spend, save, and share their hard-earned monies. Caring and honoring your members’ well-being truly exemplifies the People Helping People philosophy.”
Kathryn Greiner, director of credit union education at University Credit Union in Ann Arbor, agrees that financial education is a win-win. “You get more hugs and people love your credit union,” says Greiner. “Members won’t want to cause a loss because they’re very dependent on the wonderful support and service they get.”
Greiner and other financial counseling advocates recently shared their experiences and three keys to successful financial education programs in a CUNA webinar, “Successful Financial Counseling and Education Programs.”
1. Make it Simple
Successful financial education programs teach people how to help themselves, says Greiner, who aims primarily to simplify budgeting. She works with troubled members on a budget analysis that lists income, base living expenses, and debts. Together, they develop a monthly spending plan, which she emails to the members so they can implement the process.