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REAL Focus: Seize opportunity for outreach in 2012

While I’ve long been a part of our REAL Solutions effort, I’ve been asked to pick up the leadership reins for Jim Drogue. Jim has decided to work part-time for The League, focusing his efforts on fundraising for both the Wisconsin Credit Union Foundation and for our political programs.Chad Helminak


In addition to this role, Jim will also begin serving a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Asset Builders of America, which is a Wisconsin-based organization and credit union partner that promotes financial education and wealth-building opportunities. His continued leadership has earned quite a bit of recognition for REAL Solutions and I’ll do my best to continue carrying the torch.


The following are a few important REAL Solutions updates from around the state:

  • Congratulations are in order to CoVantage Credit Union, which received a $1.5 million CDFI grant to help distressed homeowners!


  • Twenty-two credit unions  are actively assisting low-income taxpayers as part of AARP and state-sponsored free tax preparation sites through April 17. The site not only directs visitors to free filing assistance, but also encourages consumers to open up accounts with credit unions to utilize direct deposit and receive their refunds more quickly. I would encourage all credit unions to use our PSA script for radio, web graphics and sample PSA/newsletter article to point to, a site that explains the effort. The site can help any filer use direct deposit to avoid unnecessary fees.


  • In case you missed it, an article called "America Gets a Makeover" in Credit Union Magazine explained many of the emerging opportunities – and challenges – in improving credit union outreach. We’re also offering trainings in March on troubled debt restructuring and loan generation, both of which will offer insights for outreach.


  • As of March 1, online registration will open for the National Institute of Financial & Economic Literacy. For just $300, credit unions can sponsor a local high school teacher (or an employee) to attend a full week of courses that improve their personal finance lessons.


  • Credit unions are invited to attend the Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition’s next meeting for an update on its many partners’ financial education strategies and successes. It will be held March 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Junior Achievement’s new Kohl’s Education Center, 11111 W. Liberty Dr., Milwaukee. Following the meeting will be a tour of JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. A luncheon will follow the tour. R.S.V.P. by March 7 to Teresa Walker at (608) 267-1713.


  • Credit unions are already gearing up for National Credit Union Youth Week, April 22-28. In addition to the annual Saving Challenge, CUNA is offering a customizable loan campaign. Our Legal Affairs team reminds credit unions interested in this that webpages directed to kids or collecting information from them need to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, explained in the League’s ii Release No. 0156. And while the promotion could include direct deposit or auto pay, the credit union cannot require a member to repay credit via preauthorized electronic fund transfer, as explained in ii Release No. 0120


  • April 21-28 will also be the first time that Money Smart Week is observed in spring by participating states nationwide. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which began the effort, offers local coordinator contacts and other information to get credit unions involved. This is prime time to teach members, students and others in your community about money management. |


If you have any questions or would like more information regarding these updates, feel free to contact me at (608) 514-0080.

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