A credit union operates in the best interests of its members and its community by providing affordable and helpful products, services, and financial information. This week, CreditUnions.com is keying in on the different ways credit unions are improving member financial health and wellness.
It’s hard to get a sense of the vastness of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Bounded by Badlands National Park to the north and the Nebraska border to the south, an estimated 26,000 residents live in or near small communities that dot the countryside.
The Pine Ridge Reservation is a true bank desert. The nearest bank, Security First, is 40 miles away from the center of the reservation in Martin, SD. First National in Gordon, NE, is 50 miles away. And except for a mobile banking van from Security First that made the rounds in parking lots across a few communities, Pine Ridge had never had a federally insured financial institution until Lakota Federal Credit Union opened its doors in 2013.
As the cooperative celebrates its third anniversary, a survey shows 31% of members have opened a savings account for the first time in their lives.
Read more in The Role Of Lakota Federal Credit Union In A Banking Desert.
Callahan partner Jay Johnson has 16 good reasons why financial wellness is a big idea in 2016.
Fifteen of those reasons are the 15 credit unions Callahan is working with on a financial wellness initiative through its participation in the Credit Union Financial Services Limited Partnership (CUFSLP).
But the biggest reason is No. 16: Helping working American families achieve financial stability in their lives is the No. 1 way the credit union movement can show it is truly all about people helping people.
Read more in Financial Wellness Is A Big Idea For 2016.
Financial health impacts the day-to-day lives of many Americans. Approximately one-third of Americans have no retirement savings and many are unbanked, but credit unions are providing programs, products, and services to help those households in need.
Read more in Financial Wellness In America.
Fostering financial wellness among members at Kane County Teachers Credit Union has also helped the credit union heal itself.
The suburban Chicago cooperative was losing money and members when Mike Lee left Alloya Corporate Credit Union to take the helm of struggling KCT in August 2013.
Lee brought his evangelical zeal for financial wellness and his passion for sales to bear, instituting a new member-service philosophy that centers on annual debt checkups and reigniting long-dormant relationships with its SEGs.
Read more in A Strategy To Build Financial Wellness And The Bottom Line.
Based on its own research, Patelco Credit Union found that Americans are not planning ahead and are making poor financial decisions.
According to Melissa Morgan, senior vice president and chief retail officer:
- 40% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck
- 24% have less than $250 in their bank account
- The millennial savings rate is -2%
- Personal savings rates have dropped post recession
We’ve all seen the sobering statistics in terms of how fragile so many American families are, Morgan says.
To help meet that need, the credit union created products to help members meet short-, medium-, and long-term goals.
Watch the Callahan webinar How Patelco Is Helping Members Achieve Savings Goals to learn more.
More Financial Education?
Browse the different case studies, strategies, and best practices credit unions have employed to provide financial education to members and employees.