Posts Tagged young adults

State of Wisconsin Honors CUNA’s Money Mission with 2011 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award

Posted by on Tuesday, 10 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 9, 2012)– CUNA is pleased to announce that the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy has named Money Mission LLC a recipient of the 2011 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award. Money Mission, along with other recipients, was recognized for its efforts to improve the collective knowledge of personal finance among Wisconsin citizens.

Money Mission is an interactive, web-based simulation designed to educate young adults about the fundamentals of personal finance. It is not a series of tutorials, but rather an engaging and entertaining journey built from the most basic concepts of value and money through complex issues such as taxes, inflation and globalism.

“Financial education is a core operating principle of credit unions, and one that state and federal lawmakers pay close attention to,” said Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO. “Projects like Money Mission increase awareness of credit unions and their values, and demonstrate credit unions’ commitment to the community and long-term financial health of their members.”

Money Mission and the other recipients were selected from 45 nominations submitted for consideration. Criteria used in the screening process included innovative implementation, demonstrated measureable results, collaboration with partners, whether the effort was statewide or had the potential to be statewide and whether the effort was focused on needs-based groups.

“We are honored that Money Mission has been recognized for its educational efforts by the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and by the state of Wisconsin,” says Jan Garkey, manager of group instruction at CUNA. “Every day we enjoy helping teens become financially responsible citizens.”

“The recipients of the Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award are helping Wisconsinites of all ages improve their personal finance skills in our schools, in the workplace and in communities across the state,” says Governor Scott Walker. “These citizen leaders equip students, parents, peers and consumers with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their own money, which improves individual quality of life, as well as the Wisconsin economy.”

The results of Money Mission have been measured by the degree of participation and engagement. Almost 30 credit unions in Wisconsin participate, and nearly 4,000 students in over 40 states have signed on for Money Mission in just over a year of operation. The program is available through credit unions nationwide and is accessible to any interested participant. Further, the initiative has helped several students realize their college dreams through its scholarship awards.

“More information about Money Mission can be found here, or by emailing Jan Garkey.”

Building a Young Professional Cooperative Community

Posted by on Monday, 12 September, 2011

Brent Dixon

From Brent Dixon:

The cooperative movement has a problem with aging. Average age of cooperative members and employees is over a decade older than the average age of people in the US and in Canada.

We feel this pain in the credit union industry. The average age of a credit union member is 47, and 75% of credit union board members are over 50.

Because of economic, technological, and cultural changes, financial services – and many other business sectors – have hit what the smart folks at McKinsey & Company call a “Structural Break,” which is:  “…the moment in time- series data when trends and the patterns of associations among variables change.” (via)

What does that mean? It means things have changed and we cannot continue to do things the way they’ve always be done.

If you went to business school you remember the chart that appears with this post on the life-cycle of an industry.

All signs point to credit unions, and many of our cooperative brethren, being right smack on X. This means we can go one of two ways, and have to fight for the future of a model we know is better for our communities. And if we don’t inject new blood, new energy, and new ways of solving problems into our cooperatives, they will die.

We need to recruit and invest in young talent.

At the Filene Research Institute, a think-and-do-tank for credit unions, we learned that the top reasons young people work for credit unions include:

•   The opportunities to influence strategy immediately

•   The opportunity to work with and learn from top leadership from day one

•   The opportunity to help their community

In talking with young people across credit unions, we also learned that because young credit union employees are somewhat rare, many of them feel like an island while at work. They were starved for ways to connect with other like-minded people their age.

Ed Filene, father of the U.S. credit union movement, once said, “Youth is too serious to become obedient.”

That in mind, a group of young credit union people, myself included, decided to take the problem into our own hands. Through a series of small grassroots meet-ups that spun wonderfully out of control, we’ve nurtured and grown The Crash Network, a growing community of close to 200 young credit union professionals. The community is designed to enable:

•   Ongoing connections and support from like-minded people through an online network at

•   Opportunities for professional growth and development through action (One example is: The Collider, an innovation tournament designed to improve the problem of affordable housing).

•   Mentorships with seasoned industry veterans.

A year and a half in and we’ve initiated countless development projects, sparked spin-off youth development organizations across the U.S, piloted a mentorship program, and given a voice to a growing number of young credit union employees who are ready to step up, get their hands dirty, and create the future themselves.  You can watch a short video on some of the voices of The Crash Network here.

We have a lot to learn, and can’t wait for what’s next.

Brent Dixon, Young Adult Advisor for the Filene Research Institute, will be presenting on building a younger cooperative at the upcoming CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference.  This post was originally published for the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA).

Big Time Thursday: Discovery is Coming to the America’s Credit Union Conference! (Contest)

Posted by on Thursday, 5 May, 2011

From Christy LaMasney

Why is CUNA Mutual Group bringing our face-to-face Discovery sessions to the Credit Union National Association’s America’s Credit Union Conference and Expo in 2011?  Well, by collaborating, we are leveraging our collective strengths to create a truly diversified and educational experience.

The Discovery breakouts will cover a wide range of topics including marketing and membership, risk management strategies, lending and compliance, virtual banking, employee and employer issues and issues facing boards of directors.  There truly is something for everyone.

Over the four day conference key insights will come from a combination of industry thought leaders, outside consultants, CUNA Mutual staff and your credit union colleagues. Just a few highlights include:

Kelly McDonald

Social Media & Social Marketing: How to Use it to Grow presented by Kelly McDonald, McDonald Consulting.

Kelly is making a return appearance after a successful presentation at our Online Discovery Conference last November.  At ACUC she will focus on how social media tools fit in your marketing strategy.  Many credit unions are using social media, but how do you know it’s effective and relevant?  Kelly will cover social media marketing from A-Z.


Ann Davidson

Top Fraud Trends in 2011 – Is Your CU Prepared to Prevent Today’s Top Fraud Threats? presented by Ann Davidson, CUNA Mutual Group.

How much is fraud costing your credit union? The bad news is fraud is not going away. Are you prepared to defend against these top fraud threats, including cards, ACH, wires, mobile payments and more? During this session Ann will share the industry top fraud threats, criminal behavior, how to identify the weakest links and key defenses to prevent fraud. Keep criminals out of your credit union and away from your members!


Panel discussion

A View to the Future of Credit Unions with Gen Y presented by a Credit Union Panel: Ronaldo Hardy, LaCapitol FCU; Matt Vance, Industrial CU; Amy Stanton, Connex CU and Jen Shefner, Columbia CU.

How many of your employees are from Gen Y?  With numbers estimated as high as 70 million, if you haven’t hired them yet, you will soon!  How can you attract young professionals and shape them into future leaders of the credit union system? These four young credit union leaders will share how they are influencing their credit unions, and what they believe is needed to make credit unions more relevant to their generation.


George Hoffheimer

Under the Sheets: What’s Hidden in Your Financial Statements? presented by George Hofheimer, Filene Research Institute and Mike Higgins, Jr., Mike Higgins and Associates

Too often, strategic plans are put together with a pre-determined financial objective in place. Unfortunately, the tactics to reach an arbitrary ROA target can have unintended consequences. A strategic plan needs to be more thoughtful than that. It’s important that you study your credit union’s balance sheet mix and non-interest income production to understand how powerful, and sustainable its Net Revenue Engine is and where opportunities for improvement exist. Credit unions need a sound set of asset quality guidelines to make sure credit losses don’t deplete excessive amounts of capital. During this session, based on a forthcoming Filene Research study, George and Mike will walk you through the process and discuss the benefits for your particular situation.


Discovery CONTEST: We want to know: What are the credit union issues and opportunities keeping you up at night? What topics are you looking for more insight? Answer this question in a comment below and we’ll do a random drawing on May 12th of all commenters and give away 50% off the ACUC conference registration plus a copy of  Discovery speaker Kelly McDonald’s best selling book How to Market to People Not Like You, currently featured on Inc. Magazine’s Business Book Bestseller List.

UPDATE (05/12): This contest has ended – congratulations to our winner, David from The Golden 1 Credit Union. He won a  50% off the ACUC conference registration plus a copy of  Discovery speaker Kelly McDonald’s best selling book How to Market to People Not Like You, currently featured on Inc. Magazine’s Business Book Bestseller List. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

Christy LaMasney is the Communications Strategist, Discovery for CUNA Mutual Group.

CONTEST DETAILS: Contest begins today and ends on Wed., May 11th at 11:59PM (CT). No purchase necessary to win.  Make sure you leave an email address where you can be contacted.  The winner will be notified via e-mail and will also be announced on the blog.  Multiple comments are allowed as long as you have a valid idea in each comment. (No duplicate comments) The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants received.  Void where prohibited.

This competition is offered by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is open to anyone who comments on this post and is at least 18 years of age. Employees of CUNA and family members of such employees are not eligible to enter.

CUNA shall not have any liability for any malfunction of or damage to the prize. The award winner may be responsible for applicable state or federal taxes on the value of the contest prize.


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Looks Like a Boring Kind of Cheap Shirt

Posted by on Thursday, 4 November, 2010

Prior to starting at CUNA 7 years ago I had no clue what a credit union was.  My parents had always belonged to banks and when I was looking for a financial institution, ”bank” was the only brand I knew.  Even after my husband and I both had terribly negative experiences with our bank we stayed put because we didn’t realize there was a better choice.  I don’t remember ever being taught what a bank was, it’s just all that I ever knew. I wish that somebody had sold me on credit unions earlier on;  it would have saved me some terrible service experiences and lots of money spent on bank fees. 

Truth is, even after starting at CUNA, it took me some time to really get the fact that credit unions were such a great choice for consumers.  I still have plenty of friends that I haven’t been able to convince to leave their banks, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that like me a few years ago, banks are familiar to them, and thus perceived as the best choice.

I recently came across the following video which conveys the impact branding has at an early age.  This simple school project shows that at as early as grade school children begin equating the value of something with their knowledge of that something’s brand.   The older a person gets, the more this belief gets solidified regarding the brands they know and turn to. 

I think in some ways credit unions are like  the logo-less products in the video, many people don’t really understand what a credit union is so they see credit unions as a lesser option than a bank.   To overcome that, credit unions need to begin creating a loyalty to their brand at as early an age as possible.   Whether it’s through a partnership with local schools, a sponsorship of  certain youth events or strengthened relationships with current members to help ensure they are sharing their love of their credit union with their kids.  Credit unions need to be doing something to make sure children start seeing them as relevant, or years down the road they will have an even harder time trying to convince them that they are the best choice. 

In an article in Credit Union Magazine, CUNA executive vice president and chief operating officer, John Franklin shared that “it is estimated that today’s 90 mil­lion {credit union} members have 19 million children under 18 years old. Studies show the very best way to get loyal young members is through their parents’ memberships. Yet little progress is being made.”   

What are you and your credit union doing now to make sure today’s kids become future loyal members of your credit union?

Undergrads Want Financial Education – What’s Your Credit Union Waiting For?

Posted by on Monday, 30 August, 2010

Some of the funniest commercials have aired during back-to-school season, like this one from Office Max (my favorite part is the lollipop switched for a magnifying glass).

But while many students roll their eyes at these commercials, others are scratching their heads wondering how the final set of CARD Act rules–which went into effect on August 22nd–will affect their credit accounts.

It’s my opinion that this is a perfect opportunity for credit unions to reach young adults and help them with financial education.  Why?

  1. The CARD Act is arguably the most important financial change to impact this demographic.
  2. Young adults WANT to learn how to better manage their money. According to a recent study by Sallie Mae, 84% of undergraduates said they needed more financial education.
  3. Credit unions that use financial education to guide young adults through these confusing times will gain their loyalty in return.

It’s that second point that’s most interesting… the average undergraduate senior leaves college with $4,100 in credit card debt AND wishes they had known more about managing credit and their finances. That’s where credit unions can make an impact with this demographic; by providing the desired financial education using relevant communication channels.

This is the main reason I’m psyched about my role here at CUNA. I get to help credit unions provide valuable financial information to my demographic using relevant methods such as the Web and in-person seminars.

We all know using a credit card isn’t difficult. It’s HOW to use a credit card that gets tricky. And that’s what I wanted to convey to folks my age with the video I produced for our new Seminar In A Box aimed at those starting out in life.  (Credit 101: Do You Pass the Test will be released this fall.)

Jeremy was awesome, and very candid. I wanted him to tell his story and offer advice based on his experience with credit. Hearing that message and discussing the situation with peers goes a long way and I think it amplifies the rest of the information presented throughout the seminar.

Check out this shortened version of the video…

Jeremy shares more compelling stories in the longer version that’s sure to resonate with the intended audience… like the story about his roommate’s use of credit, his episode with collections, how his credit problems affected his college career, and some advice based on his experiences.

Now it’s your turn… am I off base? Do you think young adults are a lost cause for credit unions? Are there better ways to reach them and gain their loyalty? I have lots to say about this subject–too much for one post–so let’s keep this conversation going!

>CCUC09 Redux – Young Board Members Important to CU Sustainability

Posted by on Friday, 4 December, 2009

>When young adults enter the credit union conversation, the focus is typically on how to attract and retain them as members.

But what about young folks as board members?
One of the most important aspects to the future of credit unions, the impact of adding young board members to the mix is often overlooked.
Not at CUNA, of course.
That’s why we had Ben Rogers from the Filene Research Institute to discuss this very topic during CUNA’s 2009 Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Las Vegas.
Watch as Ben reviews the highlights of his presentation…

The topic was also addressed during CUNA’s 2007 YES Summit. Justin Ho, board member for USC Credit Union at the time, presented how his involvement had made things better for his credit union.

Take a trip via Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and check out this post from our archives for more info on Justin’s presentation.
You may notice a comment from one Brent Dixon… whose socks were apparently blown off at some point.

>CCUC09 Live – Serving Gen Y… and Lunch

Posted by on Friday, 23 October, 2009

>There are only a few things I like better than eating lunch. One of them is sharing information and ideas with credit union folks about better serving/attracting young adults WHILE eating lunch.

And that’s exactly what happened this afternoon.

There were three “Lunch and Learn” sessions today, each with their own individual topic. Each addressed serving specific demographics–Hispanics, emerging markets, and young adults. And I was fortunate enough to facilitate the young adult session.

The 20 or so attendees were excellent. They shared ideas, frustrations, best practices, and a few laughs as we dove into almost all aspects surrounding credit unions and serving those just starting out in life. Our discussion lasted almost the entire hour and thirty-minutes and (luckily) ended before the after-lunch energy lull kicked in.

During the session I jotted down some notes and thought I’d share them with you… see below!

>Podcasts and CU Innovators

Posted by on Thursday, 8 January, 2009

>Hello YES CU readers and happy 2009! I want to share the following bit of news about one of our own as we plunge into the new year and refocus on important credit union tasks at hand.

YES CU Blogger, YES Summit co-moderator, and CUNA Councils Web Manager Christopher Morris was recently highlighted as a credit union innovator by the folks over at Currency Marketing.

Listen to the podcast and check out the rest of the details at the CU Brand Blog.

This naturally brings up the question of whether credit unions should podcast. I say yes, because of it’s increasing popularity among the masses, and because podcasting is another relevant way to communicate your message and develop a relationship with members, young and old.

Because it involves technology, you may think that podcasting only appeals to young adults. But with the proliferation of iPods, Mp3 players, and home computing in general, podcasts are becoming more and more popular with all demographics. Although not considered “mainstream” podcasts have increased in popularity over the past few years and there’s reason to believe podcast’s popularity will continue to rise. This chart from a Pew Research discussion on podcasting backs up these assertions.

Click on the chart for a better view…

The folks over at CU Hype Blog aren’t so convinced, so you may want to check out their posts on the matter here and here. The one post does offer 5 things to consider before jumping head first into podcasting, which are good rules of thumb in my opinion. Podcasting is simple, and with a little planning, you can offer something interesting and informative.

That said, there are a number of credit union podcasts out there on the Web you may want to check out. Topics range from member focused information to Movement related issues. Here are just a few that I’ve run across.

Keep in mind I offer no “endorsement” for those listed, this is simply a list of those podcasts I am aware of. Feel free to do a google search, or even search iTunes, for additional content. If you find one you particularly like, go ahead and post a link to it in a comment.

Random CU Related Podcasts I’ve found…

National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions podcasts
Filene Research Institute podcasts
Open Source CU podcasts
Current Issues in Credit Unions podcasts
Home and Family Finance Radio podcasts
Michigan Credit Union League podcasts
The Golden 1 Credit Union podcasts
Omni Community Credit Union podcasts
ORNL Federal Credit Union podcasts

>Credit Union "Bucks the Norm" and Gets it Right

Posted by on Tuesday, 30 September, 2008

>The “young adult conversation” in credit union world has evolved in the past three years I’ve been Manager of Young Adult Programs here at CUNA. The conversation is no longer about what the issue is and why there is a problem. It is now focused on what can CUs do, and how do they do it.

With that said, I’d like to share how one credit union is addressing the issue of better attracting and serving young adults. Tinker Federal Credit Union launched phase 1 of a financial education site for my generation called Buck the Norm. Check out the site, and this video for more details and to draw your own conclusions…

For this post, I want to focus the discussion on where the folks at Tinker have gotten it “right.” IMHO there are three major areas:

  • Content of site is RELEVANT, connects, and isn’t “jive.” The site is new, so there isn’t a giant amount of content. But what is on the site is written in a way that speaks with the user, instead of talking to the user, and isn’t trying too hard to be “cool.” The articles and blog posts are written in a style that is informative, to the point, and relaxed. The video is edgy, well produced, and makes a strong point. All of this is important because communicating in this manner connects with the audience and doesn’t come across as thinly veiled attempt to hook my generation into buying something. More on that later…
  • Good use of Web 2.0. Tinker provides an RSS feed and uses a button from addthis that enables social bookmarking, where users can share information with friends and promotes organic/viral promotion of their message. This kind of word of mouth marketing is a powerful way to share your message and has a genuine feel to those who receive the message, because it came from a person and not an institution or company. This is important because TFCU is attempting to take advantage of existing structures popular with a large portion of the demographic such as Facebook, Digg, Technorati, and other social networking/bookmarking tools to spread the word.
  • Not directly selling products or services. Actually I didn’t find any links to specific products/services offered by Tinker, only a small link at the bottom to Tinker’s main Web site… which from the user’s perspective, demonstrates a genuine attempt at bringing valuable information to the audience.

But why is that last point important? Because sites that position themselves as being a resource, and then hit you over the head with sales pitches are seen as disingenuous. The user is baited into believing the site is there to provide unbiased information, but then it becomes apparent that the REAL reason the site exists is to sell something.

A good example of this kind of tactic are those Web sites who offer something for free, such as a credit report, but require you to sign up for a service in return. The TV and radio ads, as well as the name of the site itself may suggest that you can grab a free item with no strings attached. However, reading the fine print reveals that the user is, in fact, signing up for a trial membership that is only free for a certain period of time. If the user doesn’t cancel their membership within the allotted time, they are charged for the service.

That’s not to say that providing links from sites such as Buck the Norm to related services and products is a bad thing… it’s all in how you position the site AND the links. For example, MoneyMix (my little project for CUNA) allows subscribing credit unions to provide links directly back to the credit union web site, but these links are displayed in an “ad” like format on the right hand side. There’s no confusion about the main purpose for the site from the user’s perspective and it’s a way for the credit union to demonstrate they can help the user with related products and services. Texas Dow Employees Credit Union’s work with Currency Marketing to produce Young & Free Texas and Resource One Credit Union’s similar attempt My Life My Money are good examples of how products or services can be integrated with a site specifically for my demographic.

>A Challenge for You

Posted by on Thursday, 11 October, 2007

>Hello fellow bloggers and YES Summit enthusiasts, it’s a pleasure to meet you all!!

I would like to officially introduce myself as the third moderator for this year’s YES Summit. It’s great that you’ve had the chance to catch up with Courtney and Jason — but we all know that the best is saved for last…

… if by best you mean the last… and also newest to CreditUnionLand, with the most to learn about how our great CUs are recruiting and retaining GenY members.

I’m Brianne Gutoski, and look forward to meeting you all. I was hired with CUNA in January of 2007 after completing my degree in December. Jason mentioned how credit unions are the financial industry’s “best kept secret” and I could not agree more! In the past 9 months I have discovered the wonderful world of credit unions – a magical place where the members -not stockholders and management- are considered and revered. I was amazed that these establishments were not on the cover of every financial magazine.

Current experience has taught me that recent college grads are at a critical financial stage in their life. For the first time we have tangible income- a big difference from scrounging for laundry quarters in the couch cushions! However at the same time we have those dreaded student loans rearing their ugly heads (goodbye 6-month grace period!). Not to mention monthly bills, 401K (401-what? retirement already!?) CDs, bonds and of course, savings (including the emergency fund). Where will we turn for financial planning and management? Cue Aretha Franklin’s “Rescue Me.”.

If only we could devise a large CU light bulb to go off over everyone’s head when considering financial endeavors. However; since that’s not an option (although we could get in talks with Steve Jobs) we have to take this ‘light bulb’ to our future members.

“Where exactly are these future members?” you may ask. The easy answer is everywhere. When we categorize 18-30 year olds certain buzz words come to mind: tech-savvy, crack-berry, myspace, facebook, Second Life (or possibly someone using a blackberry to update their myspace blog titled ‘the expansion of facebook’ assuming the persona of their Second Life avatar). My point is that these people are online… a lot. There is one great thing about these online communities, especially for credit unions – they’re FREE! < Hallelujah > Let’s face it, no one can beat free marketing.

Yes, our blog mentions it often – but there’s nothing to lose. I challenge you to create a virtual page for your credit union (double dare). When finished, please let us know by posting a message here. If you’re already active in an online community let us know. Not only will we be happy to stop by your page and feature it here, but we’ll even be your online friend (remember networking is essential for exposure!). Good luck everyone, keep us posted!