Recently, I attended a system collaboration event in which a colleague at CUNA Mutual Group beautifully captured the essence of credit unions, saying “Financial well-being for all is not a thing credit unions do, it is the thing credit unions do.” Founded to be intentional in helping members with economically priced financial products and services, our industry’s commitment to financial well-being is well-documented and highlighted in this year’s theme for International Credit Union Day on October 21. “Building Financial Health for a Brighter Tomorrow” encourages credit unions around the world to celebrate how impactful they are as a financial health provider.
At PSCU, a payments technology CUSO, we recognize that payments are central to what members do with their money. We believe that credit unions can leverage payment solutions, embedded with behavioral nudges, to lead both members and employees to financially healthier outcomes.
To get a baseline, PSCU partnered with the Members Development Company and engaged the Financial Health Network to assess the financial health of credit union members and employees against a national benchmark. The study found that, while slightly healthier than the national benchmark, more than 60% of credit union members self-identify as financially coping or vulnerable – meaning they are challenged with some aspect of saving, spending, borrowing or planning. The most disturbing and alarming finding was that credit union employees had the same uncertain outlook about their financial health as members in general. These findings highlight both the need for intervention and a tremendous opportunity for credit unions.
PSCU has made financial well-being our strategic philanthropy and a lens for product innovation. How can credit unions do the same?
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