Why They Won: Four Northwest Credit Unions Honored at MAXX Convention for Excellence in Adult Financial Education


Providing financial education is a cornerstone of the Credit Union Movement. The Northwest Credit Union Association spotlighted credit unions’ outstanding efforts to teach money management at the recent MAXX Convention in Spokane. In a continuing series, Anthem is showcasing their award-winning work.

A free, personal 40- to 50-minute Financial Health Check! Who does this? BECU!

Four Northwest credit unions were honored with regional Alphonse Desjardins Adult Financial Education Awards and are now under consideration for national honors.

Desjardins was a founder of the first credit unions in America and Canada and was a proponent of financial education for consumers of all ages.

Financial Health Checks for Members was offered by Tukwila, Washington-based BECU. In partnership with ideas42, the program offers free consultations with specialists who help members make decisions and take actions on their savings, budgets, and debt management. The consultations are confidential and offered in real time, one-on-one 40-50 minute sessions.

Clackamas Federal Credit Union promoted popular adult financial education classes on social media.

That’s a big commitment for a credit union serving more than one million members, but that didn’t phase the team at BECU. Financial Health Checks was offered in partnership with ideas42, a behavioral economics research nonprofit organization.

Milwaukie, Oregon-based Clackamas Federal Credit Union was honored for its partnership with community organizations to teach financial education to underserved adults. The credit union’s financial educators fanned out to teach 33 classes last year. Topics included budgeting, credit management, investing, identify theft prevention, home buying, and financial planning for family members with special needs. Twelve of the classes were taught in Spanish.

Rogue Credit Union in Medford, Oregon, was recognized for an innovative program that gave adults needing financial education the opportunity to learn online – wherever they were located and whenever they had time.

Rogue Credit Union created an email financial education program that was leveraged by 500 consumers.

The courses were marketed on Rouge’s website, social media sites, and through direct outreach. Nearly 500 members took advantage of the opportunity, many of whom are residents of other states.

SnoCope Credit Union of Everett, Washington, took its financial education programs to the places where its members work. The credit union polled ambassadors at each of the workplaces to find out what financial education topics would be most helpful to their colleagues.

Topics taught in the classes included retirement planning, managing social security benefits, and navigating healthcare needs during retirement. More than half of the hours the SnoCope team dedicated to teaching the classes, were volunteer.

SnoCope Credit Union took financial education to the places its members work.

“The credit unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington provide world-class financial services to more than 7.3 million people,” said Christine Ruzzi, NWCUA Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Engagement Resources. “Their commitment stands out through thousands of hours of financial education outreach that makes members smarter about how they manage their finances.”

Editor’s note: In next week’s Anthem, your Association will take a deeper dive into the programs offered by Northwest credit unions that received Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service awards.

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