Another Match Made: Montana Credit Union Network, Northwest Credit Union Foundation Partner to Expand College Savings Program


May 6, 2015

Lynn Heider
503.329.7208 (Mobile)

Another Match Made: Montana Credit Union Network, Northwest Credit Union Foundation Partner to Expand College Savings Program

Matched Education Savings Account (MESA) Program to Take Root in Northwest Credit Unions

SEATAC, WA., TIGARD, OR — A unique partnership between two credit union leagues and their foundations will expand a successful matching college savings program into Northwest credit unions.

The Montana Matched Education Savings Account (MESA) program was established in 2005 by Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD), the charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network (MCUN). The MESA program has helped 183 participants save $64,857—and realize another $234,598 in matched savings. A pilot program will extend MESA into Northwest credit unions.

The partnership was announced by Denise Gabel, COO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) and Executive Director, Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF), and Karen Smith, Executive Director, MCUCD.

“Innovation can be accomplished by building from scratch or by importing a solution,” noted Gabel. “MESA has a proven track record helping Montana families save for higher education. By importing this program into credit unions in Oregon and Washington, they can more quickly provide this value for their members.”

“MESA is all about what credit unions do—they see the value in offering matched savings to members,” said Smith. “Having launched the program 10 years ago, we’ve gone through the growing pains and fine-tuned MESA, so Northwest credit unions piloting the program will be able to hit the ground running. It’s really a great feeling to be able to pick up this successful program and take it to other states.”

Smith will provide operational oversight for MESA’s expansion into the Northwest, including grant support and school partnerships, while the NWCUF will a seed funding to make the MESA program a reality.

“MESA is going to be a win for Northwest families,” said Jamie Dedmon, NWCUF Managing Director. “It will help hardworking families with limited income to save for higher education at regional schools.”

Northwest credit unions selected to pilot MESA, and the criteria for matched funds in the accounts are to be announced in the near future, according to Dedmon.

“If you are looking for the epicenter of innovation,” said Gabel, “you’ll find it in all that we do to collaborate to provide solutions for credit unions and the members that they serve.”

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