For Oregon Credit Unions, “Financial Literacy Month” is a Year Round Commitment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 22, 2013

Contact:
Lynn Heider
503.350.2225
503.358.0773 (mobile)

For Oregon Credit Unions, “Financial Literacy Month” is a Year Round Commitment
Ask a Local Credit Union if Your Reporters Can See Financial Outreach in Action

BEAVERTON, Ore. — The spotlight shines on financial literacy all month and in particular on young people during “National Credit Union Youth Week” April 21-27, 2013. But for Oregon’s credit unions, helping consumers manage their money and grow their financial capability skills is a year around focus.

Founded on the principle of “People Helping People,” credit unions have always valued both their social and economic missions. Nearly all credit unions have staff assigned to make financial education presentations in schools and community centers.

Oregon’s credit union educators are highly regarded resources for teachers and community organizations trying to fill the gaps between the state education requirements, and the needs of students. For example, Corvallis-based OSU Federal Credit Union shared financial education with nearly 14,000 students last year. SELCO Community Credit Union educators touched the lives of 7,000 students. In Eugene, Oregon Community Credit Union contributed $114,000 in financial outreach grants and scholarships last year. In addition to providing free financial counseling to students and adults, Portland-based OnPoint Community Credit Union contributed $2.3 million to local schools and non profits in 2012.

At least six Oregon credit unions have branches located inside of schools. They are: First Tech Federal, Marion and Polk Schools (MaPs), Northwest Community, Rogue Federal, SELCO Community and St. Helens Community.

The rewards for financial education are tangible, both because it’s fulfilling for the credit union staff and useful for the students. Consider the testimonials of participants in a recent Financial Reality Fair offered jointly by the Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) Oregon credit unions in Salem this spring:

“It was a great time to learn how to manage money and create a budget,” said a fifteen-year-old student. “Seriously, it was awesome.”

“The fact that all of you were from the world outside of the schools AND you were giving students individualized one-on-one advice was priceless,” added that student’s Salem-Keizer teacher.

The need for credit unions to provide financial education is great; according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly 19 percent of Oregonians who work are in low wage jobs paying below the poverty level of $21,954 for a family of four. More than half of Oregonians have subprime credit, and the average credit card debt in Oregon was $10,773 last year.

“These are all reasons credit unions continuously step up to make a difference. Our communities need us and we have the skills to help families,” said Lynn Heider, VP of public relations and communications for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “During Credit Union Youth Week, I encourage reporters to reach out to their local credit unions and see if they can come along for a financial outreach event or presentation. It’s a good story about students learning to save and manage their money,” Heider Said.

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The Northwest Credit Union Association is the not-for-profit trade association serving 164 of Oregon and Washington’s credit unions and their 4.4 million members. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to its members. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit http://www.asmarterchoice.org.

Download a copy of the news release.

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