Exciting new developments for Royal Credit Union’s Correctional Facility Financial Education Program

EAU CLAIRE, WI (February 21, 2022) — Royal Credit Union (Royal) and The National Credit Union Foundation have published Making A Difference: Correctional Facility Financial Education. This whitepaper shares information and data results from Royal’s unique correctional facility financial education program in hopes that it will be replicated by other financial institutions across the country. In 2019, Royal received a National Credit Union Foundation “Impact Tracking of Financial Health Components” grant. This provided the opportunity for Royal to partner with representatives from the University of Wisconsin Stout Applied Research Center to measure the effectiveness of the overall program using pre/post surveys to evaluate learning outcomes, attitudes and confidence, and program satisfaction. The whitepaper shares the results of these surveys and offers insights into curriculum design and other important instructional considerations.

“We believe every individual should have access to the financial knowledge and information they need to succeed. Our correctional facility program certainly fits the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ and Royal’s core purpose of ‘Creating a Positive Impact in the Lives We Touch,’” said Royal’s President/CEO, Brandon Riechers.  “We are excited to share what we have learned over the past several years, and hope we can inspire other financial institutions to consider creating correctional facility financial education programs of their own.”

Royal was recently recognized by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers for its work in correctional facility financial education. The credit union received a Wisconsin Governor’s Financial Literacy Award during a virtual ceremony held on February 15, 2022.  Eight individuals and six organizations were honored for their efforts in helping Wisconsinites build their financial literacy and capability skills. Criteria used to judge nominations included: innovation, financial inclusion, demonstrated results, collaboration, and scalability.

“Receiving this award from Governor Evers is an incredible honor,” said Cooper Larson, Community Financial Education Coordinator, Royal Credit Union. “The most rewarding part of the work has been our ability to create an environment within correctional facilities where students feel comfortable and respected. We have seen our partnership locations transform into financially smart institutions where people are no longer afraid to talk about money or seek financial advice.”

Royal’s correctional facility financial education program started in the Eau Claire County Jail in October of 2015 and has continued to grow each year. A new partnership with the St. Croix County Jail started on February 14, 2022. Classes will initially be taught virtually, with a 90-minute lesson each week over the course of three weeks. Each lesson covers basic financial concepts that participants can apply to their own lives to get on the path of financial wellness. Royal also offers its correctional facility programming at Barron County Jail, Dunn County Jail and the Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility and has reached more than 1,780 incarcerated individuals by educating an average of 275 students each year.

“I am inspired by the work our team has done to create and expand the correctional facility financial education program,” said Jennifer McHugh, Vice President- Community Engagement, Royal Credit Union. “This is a crossfunctional credit union initiative, with multiple business units contributing to its success. The result is an impactful program that has made a substantial difference in the lives of hundreds of individuals who have benefited from the education we offer.”

For more information on Royal’s Correctional Facilities Program and whitepaper, please visit

About Royal Credit Union

Royal Credit Union is a federally insured credit union proudly serving over 300,000 Members in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Royal is driven by a core ideology built on a strong purpose and values. You can open an account or apply for a low-rate loan at Royal Credit Union if you live or work in 26 counties in western Wisconsin or 16 counties in Minnesota. Counties served in Wisconsin include Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Lincoln, Marathon, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Washburn, and Wood. Counties served in Minnesota include Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Olmsted, Pine, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Wabasha, Washington, Winona and Wright. A complete list of Member eligibility requirements is available on the Royal Credit Union website. To learn more about Royal, visit or call 800-341-9911.


Heidi Cornelius
Community Engagement Coordinator
Royal Credit Union
715-246-8018 (office)
715-471-0838 (mobile)

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