Partnerships and Presentations Mark Minnesota Credit Unions’ Celebration of Financial Literacy Month

Credit unions statewide provide financial education to members and consumers

ST. PAUL, MN (May 8, 2013) In celebration of Financial Literacy Month – as proclaimed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton – the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation and the state’s credit unions recently participated in a variety of activities to provide education to credit union members and communities.

“We in the financial industry are acutely aware of the need for improved personal finance skills among consumers of all ages,” said Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Board Chairman Pat Brekken.

“But while April is important to raise awareness of the need for financial education, this is not a flash in the pan for credit unions,” Brekken said. “It’s an example of credit unions’ persistent commitment to improving the lives of their members and their communities.”

Below are a few examples of how Minnesota credit unions celebrated Financial Literacy Month in April.

Cook Area Credit Union – Cook, Minn.
Cook Area Credit Union ramped up its presence in North Woods School during Financial Literacy Month. The credit union leveraged National Credit Union Youth Week with a “savings sleuth” theme, providing ways to engage with different age groups in the K-12 school. For kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, Cook Area Credit Union coordinated a coloring contest with prizes and assembled a “savings sleuth photo booth” to attract attention in the school’s cafeteria and commons area. Students in grades 6-12 had the opportunity to participate in a pop quiz. Participants answered the questions: 1) What is a credit union? 2) Why is a savings account important? 3) What is the difference between a credit card and a debit card? Cook Area Credit Union provides classroom education throughout the year and sponsors an annual Family Fun Night in the fall that uses activities to introduce financial concepts. The credit union will round out its school year involvement in May with a presentation to the ninth grade classroom on the costs of owning a car.

Hiway Federal Credit Union – St. Paul, Minn.
Hiway Federal Credit Union used the Financial Literacy Month to deepen its relationship with various partner organizations, including the Department of Military Affairs and the Department of Public Safety. Hiway’s investment team hosted a seminar on budgeting for all Military Affairs employees throughout the state, in conjunction with the Office of the Adjutant General. Additionally, Hiway provided financial education on overcoming debt, reached out to the small business community and federal government agencies through the Small & Disadvantaged Business Opportunity Council, and attended the City of Saint Paul’s Public Housing College Fair.

Postal Credit Union – Woodbury, Minn.
Postal Credit Union kicked off Financial Literacy Month by welcoming Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman to tour its student credit union branch at Tartan High School. Commissioner Rothman spoke with students about the importance of youth savings and financial education, and he observed students providing peer-to-peer financial education in the classroom. PCU and school administrators view the new student branch – just opened this year – as an important tool for students’ financial futures. The credit union coordinated a series of challenges during April and participated in the National Youth Savings Challenge, encouraging students to “‘stache their cash.” PCU offers a suite of student financial products to help youth build their financial future, including free student checking, a student savers CD, and a unique credit builder loan to help establish a credit rating. 

St. Paul Federal Credit Union – St. Paul, Minn.
St. Paul Federal Credit Union’s education efforts centered on savings during National Credit Union Youth Savings Week, April 22-26. St. Paul Federal used its student-run credit union branch at Como Park High School in St. Paul to challenge students to open savings accounts and commit to a savings plan. Students received incentives to participate in the challenge, while the credit union engaged them in financial trivia and provided additional education. The student branch – which opened in the fall – is steadily growing in awareness among students. The savings challenge created a buzz in the hallways and will be extended through the end of the school year. The credit union also provides classroom education, recently focusing on the basics of debit cards, how to build credit, and career-readiness.

Two Harbors Federal Credit Union – Two Harbors, Minn.
Two Harbors Federal Credit Union jumped into Financial Literacy Month by participating in the National Youth Saving Challenge. The credit union also made a strategic shift last month to restructure its youth programs. The credit union’s new savings club is targeted at kids younger than 10, providing education and incentives to young members and their parents, including online games and resources. The 10-14-year-old club, known as Early Earners, builds on the foundation of the initial savings club and ties “work” (i.e. household chores) with earnings. Parents can use THFCU’s eAllowance system or recurring transfers for the credit union’s home banking system to demonstrate earning power with consistency and ease.

By forming local partnerships with organizations and school districts, and through regular educational seminars for members, Minnesota’s credit unions work to ensure that consumers have the knowledge and skills to manage their personal finances.

To further help credit unions in this endeavor, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation launched its Financial Education Grant Program earlier this year. It selected its first program grant recipient in April. The Foundation provided funding to Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union – headquartered in Baxter with offices throughout the central region of the state – to expand its personal finance education classes in high schools and local community colleges.

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

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