When it comes to dishing out financial education, the only “bologna” you’ll get from Southeastern Federal Credit Union arrives in your complimentary box meal.
The $182 million asset credit union’s “CU@Lunch” program pairs free nutrition and instruction in on-site classes for employees of participating businesses in the Valdosta, Ga., area.
Southeastern Federal branch managers provide 30 minutes of straight talk to a primarily bluecollar workforce about topics such as budgeting, credit, auto and home buying, and identity theft . They also will answer questions on a one-onone basis afterward.
“We’ve had a lot of good feedback,” says Courtney Gooding, business and community development coordinator for Southeastern Federal.
CU@Lunch is part of the credit union’s broader "CU@Work" initiative to forge partnerships withemployers, some of which were the credit union’s select employee groups (SEGs) prior to Southeastern Federal obtaining a community charter in 1998.
The program reached 440 people at about a dozen companies last year—at a minimum of 15 students per class—and has expanded to offer a wider range of classes at more businesses in 2014.
Southeastern Federal presents CU@Lunch as a turnkey program. Employers’ only responsibility is creating a sign-up sheet. It steers clear of sales at these sessions.
“Some employers have very strict no-solicitation policies, so we don’t specifically sell our products and services, but we make ourselves known as a trusted expert,” Gooding says. “We tell them if they’re in the market for a home or car loan, they can come to us.”