MADISON, Wis. (3/30/16)--During April, credit unions will help America’s youth build their financial strength as part of National Credit Union Youth Month, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
This year’s theme, Credit Union Strong, positions credit unions as a source of financial strength; all month long, credit unions will be transformed into high-energy health clubs, where staff members will serve as personal trainers to get kids in top financial shape.
“This year’s theme recognizes that credit unions play an important part in helping to ensure that young people grow up to be financially capable adults,” said Jeremiah Tucker, CUNA Youth Month coordinator. “Learning to manage money wisely is as crucial a quality-of-life predictor as regular exercise and a healthy diet, and credit unions recognize that. As the only financial institutions with financial education as one of their foundational principles, credit unions are committed to ensuring their youngest members learn those crucial money skills.”
In conjunction with Youth Month, the National Youth Saving Challenge is held during April. The savings challenge is sponsored by GreenPath Financial Wellness and hosted by CUNA.
By starting youth on the right path, setting goals, and saving to reach them, the National Youth Saving Challenge helps credit unions build strong, long-term relationships with youth and their families.
Last year, 125,188 young members deposited more than $23.5 million into their savings accounts during this national event--with 8,420 of those being new accounts.
In May, CUNA will randomly select and give 10 FitBits to 10 participating credit unions. Each of these 10 credit unions will then randomly select a winner from its entrants. Participation is free.
Credit unions have already created plans to help their youngest members flex their financial muscles during Youth Month.
Fitzsimons CU, Aurora, Colo., will match deposits up to $5 into their into children’s Savvy Saver account during Youth Month.
At Daviess County Teachers FCU, Owensboro, Ky., young members can earn up to $25 deposited into their accounts when they complete a “FitBook” with four financial challenges.
Marshall (Mich.) Community CU is holding a Millionaire for a Day contest in which a randomly drawn winner keeps the interest earned on $1 million deposited into his or her account for one day.
Credit unions leagues are actively encouraging their member credit unions to celebrate the credit union difference during National Credit Union Youth Month as well.
"From the Youth Savings Challenge to coordinating an activity or event or two to highlight your credit union's connection and commitment to youth financial education, this is a great opportunity to reinforce what so many Maine credit unions do throughout the year, only with a special focus,” said Jon Paradise, Maine Credit Union League vice president of governmental and public affairs. “Maine's credit unions are leaders in youth financial education so participating and recognizing is an extension of that initiative.”
Added Barry Heape, CEO of DOCO CU, Albany, Ga., and Georgia Credit Union Affiliates board chair: "Young people are going to face many challenges when they go out into the world. Even though we are seeing indicators of a recovering economy, the middle class is still being squeezed. We have historic levels of student debt, credit issues with young people that can take years for them to overcome and they just don't always get the knowledge as children to make good financial decisions as adults. Credit unions are ready to help them--and their families--at any time."