Credit unions teach financial skills year-round, not just during Financial Literacy Month
PEWAUKEE, WI (March 28, 2014) — April is Financial Literacy Month, and Wisconsin consumers will have many opportunities to improve their financial wellness through a variety of education programs and events. As member-owned institutions that put people before profits, credit unions put an emphasis on teaching money management skills not only in April, but year-round. For example, credit unions offer:
- Youth-run, in-school credit unions. Young people have saved more than $3 million in more than 110 youth-run branches of credit unions inside schools and youth centers that teach young people the habit of saving. The branches are considered a “best practice” for youth financial education.
- Savings programs. April 20-26 is National Credit Union Youth Week, which invites young members to save. Last year during Youth Week in Wisconsin, 1,691 young people deposited $304,599 into credit union savings accounts.
- Classroom learning. Credit unions provide a variety of financial education curricula, such as the brass|STUDENT PROGRAM, which includes the lifestyle money magazine brass, free to any Wisconsin high school that wants it. Resources for students and teachers online support state teaching standards. More than 350 teachers receive it for classroom use. Credit unions also sponsor teachers’ ongoing education to improve personal finance lessons.
- “Experiential” learning. Money Mission®, offered on credit union websites, is an online life simulation that challenges teens to balance their life along with their finances. So far, it is helping students in 48 states learn the fundamentals of personal finance and has awarded $21,000 in scholarships to college-bound students. This, and day-long “reality” simulations at local schools, has engaged tens of thousands of students in financial decision-making.
- Free financial counseling. Credit unions provided almost 300,000 hours of this assistance in 2013 to prevent foreclosures and improve borrowers’ creditworthiness. Referrals to classes improve access to checking accounts.
- Community Presentations. Credit unions deliver thousands of presentations annually on topics ranging from basic financial management to improving credit reports, home buying and more. Some credit unions support Money Conferences, events that teach low-income families financial basics. Other credit unions offer “savings challenges” involving cash prizes. Still others offer classes during Money Smart Week, set this year for April 5-12.
Wisconsin credit unions’ financial education efforts, and structure that has returned more than $1 billion to members in Wisconsin since 2007, are explained in a new report called the Scorecard, at www.theleague.coop/scorecard.