Four SC CUs Provide Award-Winning Financial Education

Brandon Pugh (
Director of Public Affairs
800-235-4290, ext. 410

COLUMBIA, SC (8/23/11)—Four Palmetto State credit unions have garnered state-level recognition for their leadership in financial education through the 2011 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Desjardins Financial Education Awards. Official presentation of the state awards will be at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Credit Union League on April 21. First-place winners in the state program now move on to national judging with top entries from other states across the country.

The Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award is given to credit unions that demonstrate leadership in providing financial fundamentals to young people, in advocating for greater public and legislative support of the need, and in working together with like-minded organizations. Winners in South Carolina for 2010-11 are, by asset category:

$50-150 million in assets

SPC Credit Union – Hartsville, SC (First Place): SPC CU hosted its third annual “Take the Stage Youth Concert” for financial literacy in 2011, scripting valuable lessons on the credit union difference, value of membership, and money management. Targeted to students ages 13-25, the concert is promoted through member and employee communications, targeted mailings, billboards, table tents at youth-oriented businesses, and posters in branches and community venues. The SPC CU Youth Advisory Board drew more than 1,000 active Facebook users the week before the event, and a free “Take the Stage” photo booth branded pictures with the event logo—perfect for uploading to social pages. SPC CU invests more than 200 volunteer hours and in excess of $10,000 toward valuable youth knowledge and awareness. One in three SPC CU staff support the event, while vendors and the community support with food, entertainment, first aid, the arena, staging, and promotion.

$150-500 million in assets

Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union – Columbia, SC (First Place): The work of Palmetto Citizens FCU encompassed two curricula, volunteer support for educators, two new young member programs, and participation in National Credit Union Youth Week and the Youth Savings Challenge. In-school activity with the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program (NEFE HSFPP) and Junior Achievement (JA) reached 1,620 students in twenty-five schools and organizations with its 22-person Financial Education Team. April 2011 savings incentive drawings and two special seminars brought in 110 young people into new club accounts and 26 other new youth accounts. PCFCU also offered a Young Investor Workshop and continued a partnership with Forest Lake Elementary School for in-school deposits. The credit union again sponsored its local chamber teacher recognition breakfast, recognized its sixth annual financial educator of the year, communicated its work with 49,000 members, and highlighted efforts in a handout for state legislators. PCFCU also is the new sponsor partner with SCETV for the Biz Kid$ television program.

Family Trust Federal Credit Union – Rock Hill, SC (Honorable Mention): With many parents not confident in their own knowledge, Family Trust FCU focused on a peer-to-peer approach. It advanced the Youth Advisory Board it formed in 2008 to grow insight, and with input from Subcat Marketing created an On-Campus Awareness program of 30-minute high school presentations, participant incentives, and an online contest. FTFCU also sought and incorporated feedback from a Rock Hill School District instructional specialist, representatives of three different schools, and the credit union’s own School Advisory Committee. Awareness was aided through traditional and social media, meetings with district officials, in-school flyers, posters and television displays, communication with participating teachers, and peer communication. Family Trust also recognized the Youth Advisory Board at its 2011 Annual Meeting. Results included seventeen applicants for the 2011-12 Youth Advisory Board and eighty participants in the On-Campus Awareness program. Ongoing plans include creation of student “street teams” to promote awareness while delivering classroom tips on money and finance.

More than $500 million in assets

SRP Federal Credit Union – N. Augusta, SC (First Place): In light of educators’ limited resources, SRP FCU helped create reusable materials from the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program, the “JA Presents NEFE” modules, and a supplemental corresponding activity to enhance the credit, identity theft, and insurance modules. Its efforts saved the local JA chapter $1,600—$400 more than its budget cuts despite a 1,200-student increase. Also, SRP FCU and Community Outreach Manager Yvonne Meeks reached people through various community organizations and offered material to the Curtis Baptist Church women’s outreach ministry for low income areas. The credit union’s work through 32 schools and organizations reached 5,612 students. SRP FCU advocates routinely discuss financial education on visits to Congress, at community expositions, and with parent/teacher associations (PTAs). It offers school counselors a Financial Literacy Web Site Resource Guide and is an active member of the SC Jump$tart Coalition to promote cooperative effort and resources toward financial knowledge.

New this year, the Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award identifies outstanding credit union programs in adult and community education, especially those blending instruction with awareness and collaboration in building consumer knowledge. The first-ever winner in South Carolina is:

$150-500 million in assets

Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union – Columbia, SC (First Place): Formerly an educators’ credit union, PCFCU learned that many adults share the need for financial fundamentals. Its no-cost seminars for members and the community provide an open forum for questions and deliver a take-home resource guide. The credit union provides free dinner during the 1.5-hour events and offers customized versions for businesses, schools, churches, and other community organizations. Topics include budgeting and saving, credit report basics, first-time home buying, ID theft protection, couponing, and benefits of credit union membership. In all, 31 sessions reached 1,046 participants. Awareness is generated through traditional and social media, staff communications, community calendars, and its “eLERT” opt-in email to more than 15,500 members. The credit union advocates for financial education and shares its practices when visiting with elected officials. Topic partners include Equifax on credit reports and on couponing, and all outreach is supported by the 22-person Palmetto Citizens Financial Education Team.

The South Carolina Credit Union League is the association of all 76 credit unions based in the Palmetto State, and it exists to enhance their long-term success and viability. Together, these not-for-profit institutions protect assets of $9.59 billion that belong to more than 1.3 million members.

More News