When Virginia Credit Union in Richmond teamed up with the Financial Health Network and George Fox University to conduct a series of member surveys, it learned that its female members struggled the most with financial health and confidence.
“Women actually scored all right with financial knowledge, compared to men, but their scores with financial health and confidence were lower,” says Cherry Dale, vice president of financial education.
In response, the $4.8 billion credit union created Financial Success for Women, a month-long, virtual financial education series.
The program included four components: spend, save, borrow, and plan. Each week, participants received an email with content and recorded webinars. Every Thursday, a different expert spoke with the participants in a live virtual program.
The first live session featured The Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary.
Virginia Credit Union measured participants’ financial health and understanding before and after the series. The goal was to determine whether or not the series could move the needle and increase members’ overall financial health.
In the initial assessment, participants designated their financial health as coping (57%), vulnerable (23%), and healthy (20%). Following the series, 17% rated themselves as vulnerable, 59% coping, and 24% healthy.
Participants who were not confident decreased from 19% to 8% while those who considered themselves somewhat confident rose from 16% to 23% and confident increased from 65% to 68%.
Participants also left with a better view of the credit union. In the post-series assessment, 80% of respondents agreed “Virginia Credit Union helps people feel more confident about their finances,” up 26% from the initial assessment. Plus, respondents who agreed “Virginia Credit Union offers good financial advice or education” jumped from 58% to 91%.
Dale will use this information to create focused financial education that will improve members’ confidence in their finances.
Using financial health surveys to segment out demographics and see who needs what kind of education is exciting to Dale. She believes the financial education space is only going to continue to be more and more focused in the future.
“We should be doing financial education and helping our members with their overall financial health. It's just the right thing to do,” Dale says. “But as we're evolving, we need to really make sure that we are targeting and providing programs that are able to move the needle. We want to be able to actually measure how programs positively impact participants.”