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About The League

Credit Unions and Financial Education


Credit unions strive to improve the financial literacy of young people. With financial education programs like the brass|STUDENT PROGRAM and the High School Financial Planning Program (a classroom curriculum), credit unions across the state are teaching young people to save and use financial products responsibly. Collectively, Wisconsin credit unions:


  • Offer services without regard for profit. Wisconsin credit unions were the first in the U.S. to implement REAL Solutions, an initiative that helps members and the community without regard for profit. For example, credit unions offer affordable services – like alternatives to high cost payday loans – that can help low-income people, translations and guidance on financial services to help new Americans, free member seminars and more. The aim is to offer access to financial services that can help improve a person’s financial position over time, which ensures more financially healthy citizens and a strong state economy.


  • Teach financial concepts. Credit unions give financial presentations in classrooms and to other groups. Still others have youth clubs, publications or tools online that teach saving and responsible use of credit.


  • Shape personal finance instruction. Credit unions are shaping our state’s financial literacy efforts as part of a Governor’s Council addressing the issue. Credit unions also provide teaching resources to schools, such as the free brass|STUDENT PROGRAM – a personal finance program featuring the lifestyle money magazine brass written by young adults for young adults. The program also features helpful tools for students and teachers online. Credit unions also provide free to schools the High School Financial Planning Program,® a classroom curriculum covering “financial basics.” These and other materials are used in classes like family living, economics, math, social studies, marketing and business.


  • Sponsor financial education events. As part of the Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition, credit unions support workshops that give educators the skills and materials they need to teach personal finance. Called the National Institute of Financial & Economic Literacy, the three, week-long workshops held every summer in Madison have attracted interest from educators nationwide (college credits are available). Credit unions sponsor a significant number of participating teachers. Credit unions also help plan and sponsor several Money Conferences, one-day workshops that teach low-income families “financial basics.”


  • Sponsor youth-run credit union branches. Wisconsin credit unions oversee approximately 100 youth-operated credit union branches inside schools. The branches are staffed and used by students who learn to save regularly and use financial products responsibly. Though these branches operate at a cost to credit unions, not-for-profit credit unions offer them in hopes of helping students avoid debt, complete their educations, and become self-supporting members of the economy.


  • Support financial education legislation. The Wisconsin Credit Union League supports efforts to pass legislation that would require students to take a personal finance course prior to graduating.


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Wisconsin credit unions have played a leadership role in financial education efforts:


  • In Wisconsin! Cathie Tierney, President of Community First Credit Union, Appleton, served on two governor-appointed task forces on financial literacy, including the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Personal Finance Task Force and the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy. Those efforts consolidated ideas from businesses, not-for-profits and community organizations on how the state might improve the financial health of Wisconsin citizens. These efforts led to the development of Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy – guidelines that state what financial skills Wisconsin students should acquire by the fourth, eighth and 12th grades.


  • Nationwide! Pat Wesenberg of Central City Credit Union, Stevens Point, is serving on CUNA’s Financial Literacy Task Force. The group is devising recommendations to make financial education a top priority for credit unions nationwide and measure the progress of these efforts. The group is assessing best practices and developing a business model by which credit unions can use financial education help more credit unions grow by encouraging financially healthier members. Another aim is to devise additional ways to leverage financial education efforts for pro-credit union advocacy.



View a list credit unions are involved in financial education activities

This list also includes descriptions of activities and locations.


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Tell the League how you’re educating members/consumers on financial topics and we’ll add you to our financial education activity list. Also send us your news releases highlighting financial education activities and we'll post them on our credit union news page!  Send your information to Melissa Polley, The League's Member Communications Specialist.

©2005 Wisconsin Credit Union League. All rights reserved.
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