CUNA’s Youth Saving Challenge Adds 100 Credit Unions
Mark Wolff – CUNA Communications; (202) 508-6764; email@example.com
Amy Nigrelli – CUNA Marketing; (608) 231-4246; firstname.lastname@example.org
MADISON, Wis. — The 2011 National Youth Saving Challenge™ sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is gaining steady momentum. The number of participating credit unions has grown by 100, and numbers are expected to continue increasing. Last year’s Saving Challenge saw nearly 350 credit unions join the Challenge.
Held in conjunction with National Credit Union Youth Week™ throughout April, the Saving Challenge puts the spotlight on youth in a contest tracking deposits. Last year, nearly 170,000 young members deposited $24.8 million into their savings accounts during the month, and more than 10,000 opened new accounts.
The 100 credit unions joining the Saving Challenge have set a goal to take in more than $4 million in deposits from some 32,000 youth in April.
The Challenge’s popularity comes from its fun, flexible approach to encouraging young people to develop good savings habits. CUNA provides an array of resources, promotional materials and products, and celebration ideas, but individual credit unions build their own celebrations using the unique service commitment that defines the credit union movement. Jean Tatar at St. Pius X FCU in N.Y. works with schools on a weekly basis to teach youth about making deposits and getting rewards, and students have the opportunity to meet with credit union staff and ask questions. “It is so important to educate our youth on finances, especially in this economy,” Tatar said.
The Saving Challenge also permits credit unions to set their own goals and run the contest during whatever timeframe fits their community calendar. The Daviess County Teachers FCU in Kentucky has had great success with Youth Week, meeting and exceeding their Saving Challenge goals each year since 2005. Involvement in both Youth Week and Saving Challenge activities has been met with enthusiasm from young savers at Daviess County Teachers FCU.
“We feel it’s the best opportunity for teaching our young members the importance of ‘paying yourself first,’” said Lauren Mayhew, marketing director at Daviess County Teachers FCU and north central region coordinator for the National Youth Involvement Board. “Our youth never cease to amaze me with their enthusiasm for saving at their credit union.”
This year CUNA has added a mentoring service to the program, designed to link up credit union staff new to the Saving Challenge with individuals who have already planned, hosted, and completed many celebrations. These mentors welcome the opportunity to share their success stories and answer any questions, and their contact information can be found at http://cuna.org/finlit/saving_challenge_mentor.html.
Mentor Lani Fritz, from Michael Baker Jr. FCU in Pa., believes in the value of Youth Week and its role in promoting financial literacy. Joining the National Youth Saving Challenge sends a strong message to young people and their parents and cultivates longstanding relationships between credit unions and their members. “We care very much about teaching our youth that every penny they discipline themselves to save, counts to us as well,” Fritz said.
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With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves 90 percent of America’s 7,700 credit unions, which are owned by more than 90 million consumer members. Credit unions are not for profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life. For more information, visit www.cuna.org.