Impact Strategies From September 2022

A look inside strategies and programs that are helping credit unions of all sizes make a difference in the communities they serve.

Want to make a difference in members’ lives? Here’s where to start.

Throughout September, has featured stories of how the industry is making an impact in consumers lives, including everything from strategies to reduce delinquencies, recruit younger members, providing financial education, and more. Read on for highlights from this month’s coverage.

Going All In For Community Development

As Clearwater Credit Union ($921.0, Missoula, MT) has embraced values-based banking, it has also turned to a program from the federal government to stretch its impact further. Having recently been certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, leaders from the Montana-based cooperative discuss the meaning of CDFI status, their struggles meeting the lending needs in their communities, and more.

Read more in “Clearwater Embraces Its CDFI Status.”

Financial Education Abounds

When Kentucky schools resumed in-person instruction in 2021, schools across the state were also in their first year of providing state-mandated financial literacy courses. Enter Abound Credit Union ($2.0B, Radcliff, KY), which stepped in to help, meeting with local schools to develop in-house curriculum that would not only meet state requirements, but keep students particularly younger ones engaged and entertained, all while taking some of the burden off of teachers. The end result has not only helped students from grades K-12 better understand money management and meet the state’s requirements, but also reinforced the credit union’s partnerships with local schools.

Read more in “Adding Fun To Financial Education.”

A Tie Between Financial Literacy And Lower Delinquency

Want lower delinquency rates? It might be time to roll out additional financial literacy offerings. According to data from Callahan Associate, among institutions with more than $100 million in assets, credit unions providing financial literacy education consistently report lower delinquency rates than those that do not. At midyear, there was a 21-basis-point difference in delinquency rates between those two types of institutions. What’s more, delinquency rates consistently trend downward at credit unions that make education tools available to members, whereas rates move up and down in some cases dramatically at credit unions that don’t provide such resources.

Read more in “Financial Literacy Offerings Drive Down Credit Union Delinquency Rates.”

Atomic’s Key To Capturing Young Members

A student-run branch program from Atomic Credit Union ($532.5M, Piketon, OH) that began 11 years ago with just five branches has expanded to nearly 60 branches and 421 volunteer student workers, making it one of the largest such programs in the nation. Along with nearly 6,000 active accounts and deposits totaling $3.1 million, the program is teaching students across the region about consistent saving and good financial habits.

“We provide each student with their initial deposit to open an account to ensure there is no one left out of the program,” says Atomic CEO Tom Griffiths.

Read more in “School Branches Earn High Grades For This Ohio Cooperative.

Financial Wellness? There’s An App For That.

Service Credit Union ($5.2B, Portsmouth, NH) is helping improve financial wellness for members of all ages particularly younger demographics with Fin-Life, an app-based financial-education tool that uses psychology and behavioral science to reach consumers where they already are on their phones. The app is intended to teach users everything from budgeting to savings, tax planning, understanding debt and credit scores, retirement preparation, and more.

Read more in “Service Puts Financial Wellness In Members’ Pockets.”

September 26, 2022

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