Mid-Minnesota FCU uses Foundation’s Financial Education Grant to Expand Personal Finance Classes
Credit union helps students understand the basics of money management
BAXTER, MN (June 18, 2013) As a financial institution with deep roots in communities across central Minnesota, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union (MMFCU) is all about the “dollars and cents” when it comes to teaching personal finance.
In 2008, MMFCU launched its Education Network program to educate members on a variety of subjects, such as identity theft and online banking. The program expanded to Brainerd High School and has since grown to a 13-week personal finance course offered every semester at the school, which touches every junior and senior in the school by the time they graduate.
“By partnering with local schools and the community, it furthers our vision of helping the community and future members,” said MMFCU President/CEO Chuck Albrecht. “Students who are financially well‐educated, prosper and thrive in the long run.”
Over time and solely through word of mouth, MMFCU has expanded its financial education and teaching beyond Brainerd, now reaching Crosby, Little Falls, Staples, Pierz and Pequot Lakes.
This fall, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union will be broadening its personal finance repertoire by making its educational classes available in an online format, as part of an existing course offered by Central Lakes College in Brainerd, thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. Through its newly-established Financial Education Grant Program, the Foundation made its inaugural award to Mid-Minnesota to assist with the transition to online learning.
We want to expand our offerings to provide financial education to young adults at a time when these topics have been cut from schools’ curriculum due to budget cuts,” said Jill Carlson-Ferrie, MMFCU Director of Learning & Development. “By building relationships with local schools, we have the opportunity to fill that void.”
Mid-Minnesota provides all of the classroom materials for the teachers and the schools, including worksheets, handouts and a folder of reference materials that is intended for students to bring home and discuss with parents. Classes cover:
- the difference between credit unions and banks;
- saving, investing and managing money;
- establishing and maintaining credit;
- identity theft;
- applying for a loan; and
- buying a car and insurance.
“Our financial education program is unique because we provide the school with outside experts who are able to talk about areas that they work in every day,” Carlson-Ferrie said. “Students like the variety with guest speakers, and their experience and diverse perspectives provide valuable information and variety in the classroom.”
Carlson-Ferrie said that the credit union is careful not to use the classroom exposure to sell the credit union or market to the students, but rather views its community participation as a part of MMFCU’s mission and drive.
“Being involved in classroom and teaching personal finance is very impactful,” Carlson-Ferrie said. “We see this as part of our mission, to provide education to members and the communities we serve.”
Through post-course evaluation conducted through the schools, the knowledge gained by students is evident. At the end of the personal finance classes, many of the schools ask students to write a letter to their principal listing the top five things they learned. Some schools also have students write letters to their legislators to stress the importance of personal finance education.
Dedicated to providing the resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 to serve as a charitable arm of the Minnesota credit union movement. For more information, visit www.mncufoundation.org.