Three ways a financial literacy program can benefit your credit union

Financial literacy programs can help with your credit union’s business development efforts from a variety of angles.  An assortment of financial education options is available for you to use and need not drain your financial or human resource budgets

Reaching the Youth Market

While it’s true that people at every stage of life can benefit from financial education, the best time to begin developing personal finance skills is early in life.

Credit unions can create their own financial education programs to reach out to members’ children, or reach out into the community where many non-credit union members can be found.

Schools; youth programs like 4-H, or Scouts; or faith-based organizations are places where youth groups meet and often look for activities for their participants.  Financial education is generally welcomed.

Credit unions can help educate young members of their community on the benefits of membership, as well as other basic financial literacy topics like identifying needs versus wants, budgeting, responsible borrowing, etc.

Protecting Nonprofit Status

Credit unions enjoy their nonprofit status for two important reasons: the governance structure used by credit unions and the benefit to the community-at-large that credit unions provide.  One of the greatest benefits credit unions can point to when their nonprofit status is questioned, is their commitment to financial education, and dedication to creating well-informed consumers.

Like nonprofit counterparts in healthcare, education, and the arts, credit unions bring benefits to the community, and can demonstrate those benefits best by supporting the core value of financial literacy.

Nonprofit organizations are known for providing community outreach within their areas of specialty.  Hospitals offer free clinics, musical arts organizations sponsor free concerts, animal advocacy groups help with adoption services, the list is endless.  What is common, though, is that each organization “stays in its lane” and offers communities a benefit based on their specific core mission. Financial literacy is definitely “in our lane”.

Promotional Opportunities

Financial literacy programs are, in and of themselves, a direct benefit to the community.  And they offer credit unions the chance to “blow their own horn.”

Any financial literacy program should include appropriate coverage, including:

  • Sample newsletter articles
  • Lobby posters
  • Statement stuffers
  • Website coverage
  • Press releases

Including a promotional component to all financial educational offerings, extends the benefit of the program and allows for a “halo effect” that helps garner positive community regard for the sponsoring credit union.

So financial education programs benefit the sponsoring credit union on several levels.  What is your credit union doing to leverage this opportunity?

Kyle Y. Swisher, III

Kyle Y. Swisher, III

Kyle Swisher is Executive Director of the Credit Union Foundation MD|DC.  Mr. Swisher has led that Foundation over the past ten years in its mission to improve lives through ... Web: Details