Affinity Plus solutions team earns CUNA Financial Counseling Certification to assist members
ST PAUL, MN (December 6, 2018) — Affinity Plus has a team specially trained to help credit-union members understand and improve their finances.
The challenge is that personal finances are often exactly that – personal. And there can be a lot of complicated emotions surrounding them, said Sam Kolberg, manager of the Affinity Plus Solutions department.
In response, eight members of the Affinity Plus Solutions team recently completed the Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) training from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
The extensive training will help Solutions employees further build their knowledge and hone skills so they can foster better relationships with members, Kolberg said.
“Banking and figuring out financial solutions is what the Solutions team does – it’s in our name. But the essential part of our work is relationships,” he said. “When we understand members better, we can help them with positive changes.”
COMMUNICATION STYLES, VALUES
Kolberg said the FiCEP training covered numerous topics, including:
Myths and truths about money;
First steps in counseling members and analyzing their financial condition;
Ability to “enter the member’s world” and connect their perceptions to their financial well-being;
Systematic planning for spending, bill paying and saving that reduces debt.
Solutions team members believe the FiCEP training already has proven valuable.
“It helped remind me that people have many different communications styles,” one noted. “As a result, there are different ways to approach conversations about personal finances.”
Another said the classes “opened my eyes to how differently we all view certain situations and circumstances throughout our lives. After the training, I’m more confident I can help members in different phases – like young couples just starting out, or people entering into retirement.”
A team member said the FiCEP training reinforced the day to day importance of the credit-union’s values of caring, excellence and integrity.
“Our values really set the table. Because of them, our members feel safe in opening up about the sometimes-difficult topic of money,” she said.
Kolberg noted that the team’s primary work is to help members who’ve reached a point where they may be struggling with their finances.
Still, he and other Affinity Plus leaders are hopeful the CUNA FiCEP training can expand so that other employees learn the skills and can counsel members well before they face financial challenges.
About Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that puts people first above profits. Members of Affinity Plus receive maximum value through competitive rates, minimal fees, and unique, member-centric products and programs. Established in 1930, Affinity Plus has 28 branches located throughout Minnesota and is owned by more than 195,000 members. Affinity Plus has over $2 billion in assets. Additional information is available at affinityplus.org.
Kristina Wright, Senior Vice President, Member Experience