SECU enhances its Financial Counseling Services with AFC® Designation Program
RALEIGH, NC (April 7, 2015) — State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) has long been providing financial counseling and education to help members succeed; it’s a natural extension of the cooperative’s consumer-friendly products and services. SECU also believes that employee education keeps an organization prepared to advise members in an ever-changing financial world. Reinforcing that belief, SECU is happy to announce a partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) to certify more than 1,000 employees statewide with the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) designation over the coming months.
Accredited Financial Counselors must meet educational and ethical requirements and have at least 1,000 hours of relevant experience as a financial counselor before receiving their certification. SECU branch employees qualify as candidates through their day-to-day service, which includes enrolling members in the Another Chance Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) service, preparing tax returns through the Credit Union’s economical tax preparation options, keeping members in their homes via SECU’s Mortgage Assistance Program and helping members avoid costly payday loans by offering a Salary Advance Loan program with an accrued savings component.
Since the economic downturn in 2009, many North Carolina citizens, including State and public school employees served by the Credit Union, have fallen on tough financial times. SECU has continually worked to create a comprehensive package of services, from basic budgeting and credit improvement programs to options leading to accumulating and protecting wealth through investment, insurance and estate planning services.
“The AFC accreditation will increase the expertise of our staff and will provide the structure and groundwork for SECU to further expand our financial counseling services,” states Joan McCool, SECU’s Senior Vice President of IRA and Investment Services. “SECU’s investment in the financial education of our employees will reap great rewards for everyone, ultimately increasing the proficiency and credibility of our staff to help members achieve long-term financial success.”
“We are thrilled to have so many professionals from State Employees’ Credit Union enroll in the AFC program,” says Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director of AFCPE. “AFC certification marks the highest standard of excellence in the field of financial counseling and education. Our professionals are held to the highest ethical standards and are required to participate in ongoing professional development in order to maintain their certification mark. SECU’s commitment to certify their financial professionals speaks volumes to the Credit Union’s desire for excellence in providing a higher level of service that will help their members reach financial success. It represents a standard of quality that more financial institutions should provide to their consumers.”
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 77 years. The Credit Union also offers a diversified line of financial advisory services including retirement and education planning, tax preparation, insurance, trusts, estate planning and investments through its partners and affiliated entities. SECU serves nearly 2 million members through 254 branch offices, over 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.
The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) is a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to educating, training, and certificating financial counselors, educators, and other related professionals. We are uniquely built upon decades of extensive field research, out of which our nationally recognized certification programs were created. AFCPE’s certification marks represent the highest standards of excellence in the field of financial counseling and education. Our programs, nationally recognized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Department of Defense, provide professionals with the knowledge and skills to help individuals and families from all walks of life make more effective financial decisions. We support our professionals by providing career advancement and professional development opportunities, including exceptional financial education trainings, the Journal for Financial Counseling & Planning and our Annual Research & Training Symposium.