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

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — 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 Washington’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. Washington’s educators are among the nation’s most recognized for volunteering to help students take responsibility for their finances, balance checkbooks and live within their means. For example, TwinStar Credit Union reached 4,159 students through financial education outreach last year. Kitsap Credit Union reached more than 3,000 students. Spokane Teachers Credit Union also helped more than 3,000 teens, young adults and college students improve their money management skills.

At least eight Washington credit unions have branches located inside Washington high schools. They are: Gesa, iQ, Kitsap, Sno Falls, Solarity, TwinStar and White River.

The need for credit unions to provide financial education is great; according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly 11 percent of Washingtonians who work are in low wage jobs paying below the poverty level of $21,954 for a family of four. Nearly half of Washingtonians have subprime credit.

“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). “Moreover, Washington’s schools don’t have strong enough financial education resources and legislation calling for additional support has sputtered in Olympia.”

Innovative programs to reach students are another signature of the credit union movement. For example, Spokane’s Horizon Credit Union won a national award for its “Piggy Bank Hunt,” a financial literacy treasure hunt for middle school students last year. The model has now been adapted nationally.

“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.

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