We Do Big Things: A Resource for Credit Union Planning Sessions

This entry was posted by Friday, 4 March, 2011
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I can’t begin to tell you how great it makes me feel to work for CUNA.

Why?  One reason is because my department—CUNA’s Center for Personal Finance (CPF)—produces personal finance materials that credit unions trust to educate their members about important money matters.

And financial education is important to the credit union movement. Financial literacy efforts are part of the fabric which separates credit unions from other financial institutions. In fact, even American Bankers Association Senior Economist Keith Leggett gave a nod to credit union financial education efforts a few years ago.

So it does my heart some good to be a cog in the mighty credit union wheel.

Now, producing personal finance materials that credit unions can trust doesn’t happen overnight. Each year CPF holds several planning sessions to anticipate the needs of credit unions and the consumer-members they serve.

It’s been said, you can’t truly know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. So, at the end of the year CPF produces a year in review identifying our contributions to the credit union movement. It’s a wonderful tool that helps the department recognize what worked well and spark ideas to plan and research for the coming year.

Let me peel back the CUNAverse curtain and share the 2010 Center for Personal Finance Year in Review with you… see below. Perhaps your credit union or credit union organization can use this as an example for crafting something similar.

What does your organization do to help with planning for the upcoming year?

CUNA’s Center for Personal Finance Year in Review – 2010


  • CPF contributed to CUNA’s ongoing PR and outreach effortsHome & Family Finance Radio

Each week CUNA’s voice of authority in financial literacy reaches a wide national audience through Home &Family Finance Radio, a joint project under the direction of Washington D.C. staff …. The project entered a new phase with the development of a Home & Family Finance Radio player for credit union websites.

  • CPF staff expertise received outside recognition

Staff currently represent CUNA and the credit union movement on the boards Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation of the and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. In 2010, the following online and print publications tapped CPF for interviews and quotes: bankrate.com, creditcards.com, Parents Magazine, Daily Herald (an online suburban Chicago news outlet), Crain’s Detroit Business, and Parenting Magazine.  Also in 2010, NCUF-funded, CUNA-sponsored, and CPF-guided preschool financial literacy
research conducted in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison
was cited at an international child finance conference in Amsterdam.

  • CPF products, programs put the spotlight on credit unions

This year’s annual National Youth Saving Challenge resulted in 176,750 youth at 352 participating credit unionsputting $25,627,753 in existing and 10,631 new youth accounts. Participation in the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award recognition program brought a record number of entries (56) from a record number of states (29). The Louisiana, California, and Illinois leagues hosted events showcasing CPF’s live group budgeting simulation Mad City Money, which also saw widespread use during Wisconsin’s MoneySmart Week, including all four of Madison’s high schools.

  • CPF partnership initiatives reached new markets

CUNA’s relationship with Coopera Consulting was strengthened by a number of
CPF joint projects, including editorial oversight of the Spanish language website El Poder Es Tuyo and the production of a basic money management seminar and four instructional videos in Spanish. CPF also brought Cabot Creamery Cooperative into a partnership with the New York Credit Union League that led to the licensing of content for a youth activity booklet about maintaining health and wealth. A new partnership with the Direct Selling Association and the Direct Selling Education Foundation resulted in a deal to license an online money management course.

Service to credit unions and members

  • New CPF products addressed new challenges and opportunities

The launch of the Money Mission, a joint collaboration between CUNA
and the Wisconsin Credit Union league gave CPF entry into the world of online educational gaming. With the launch of El Poder Es Tuyo, CPF expanded its support of CUNA’s Hispanic Initiative while garnering an award from the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators for quality of text and design, effectiveness of message, accuracy and usefulness of information,
creativity, value to the community, needed changes and program results.

  • CPF improvements kept existing products fresh and relevant

A redesign of CPF’s online editorial service Copy & Art Express improved the 12-year-old product’s ability to deliver articles, ads, and images, allowing subscribers to beef up their newsletters and web sites and, in one case, produce a 16-page informational booklet. All told, the department’s suite of onlineEDGE products combined generated an estimated 45 million page views from 850,000 visitors to the websites of 1,223 subscribing credit unions during 2010.

  • CPF responded to consumer news and changes in federal regulation

A spate of news stories about investment and other schemes targeting seniors prompted the production of a series of articles and brochures alerting credit union members to the threat and how to protect against it. Guides to Independence added two new credit card courses that reflect consumer changes wrought by the Credit CARD Act of 2009.


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