WASHINGTON (2/26/15)--Credit unions got a chance to highlight their mission of increasing youth financial literacy Wednesday before the U.S. Treasury's Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC).
|National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland talks about credit unions' youth financial literacy efforts at the U.S. Treasury's FLEC meeting. (CUNA Photo)|
National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland and Bill Lawton, president/CEO of Plymouth, Mich.-based Community Financial CU, made up one-half of a panel highlighting efforts nationwide to increase youth financial literacy, one of the primary tasks of FLEC.
Hyland detailed the foundation and CUNA's financial literacy efforts, which include outreach to schools around the country through websites and events such as financial reality fairs. The fairs allow students to identify a career choice, see the starting salary and use that salary to create a budget for basic living expenses.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray, a member of FLEC, told Hyland he is an "enormous fan" of the financial reality fairs. He has seen the superintendent of his children's school district ensure those events take place.
|Bill Lawton, president/CEO of Community Financial CU, shares his credit union's financial literacy efforts in Michigan before the U.S. Treasury's FLEC. (CUNA Photo)|
"It is to me a uniquely important exercise," he said. "It's a real reality check to recognize that there's a whole financial side and to see how much is involved, how complicated it can be and how perilous that can be. It's really something they do need to think about."
Lawton, when asked how to connect credit unions and other financial institutions with local schools, said it's all about relationship building.
"I think we need to build on the success stories we have," he said. "It's about building relationships and getting connected to the right person, someone who can champion it in the district and also in the schools."
He added that it's a balancing act for institutions, schools, parents and students, because while it's not prudent to expand too quickly and spread efforts too thin, financial institutions should understand that the efforts are good for everyone involved long term.
The panel came a day after the release of interagency guidance on youth savings from federal financial regulators. Video of the meeting is available online.