ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/2/14)--While most of the National Credit Union Administration's day-to-day functions involve its mandate of regulating, chartering and supervising federal credit unions, as well as operating the National Credit Union Share Insurance fund, the agency also exists as a resource to credit unions and their members.
MyCreditUnion.gov is the NCUA's official consumer protection website, launched in 2011. Morgan Rogers, director of the NCUA's Division of Consumer Affairs, in an interview with News Now, said the site is intended to be a resource for anyone interested in financial literacy, especially credit unions members, staff and board members.
"Our goal is to make financial education resources available to all who need them. Credit unions, by their nature, tend to be community-based organizations, which puts us in a unique position," she said. "As member-owned institutions, the more financial literacy members are exposed to, the better it is for the entire system."
The site also contains the basics on credit unions, everything from the history of the credit union movement, to fraud prevention tools, to information on how share deposits are insured.
"Some of our top-viewed web pages are the ones with the explanations of what a credit union is, the differences between credit unions and banks and how deposits are insured," added Kenneth Worthey, financial literacy and outreach analyst with the NCUA's Office of Consumer Protection. "Hopefully the site is becoming a go-to resource for people who might be interested in becoming a credit union member."
In addition to information about credit unions, the site contains the latest information on consumer protection issues, credit reports and scores and tips to prevent identity theft and other scams.
The NCUA takes more than one route to support consumer financial education. Agency staff also take a proactive approach by participating in such things as the U.S. Department of Defense's annual Financial Readiness events and Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill. The agency also hosts webinars for credit unions--like the one in April, also known as Financial Literacy Month, which was attended by more than 400 people--with an additional 130 watching online.
"When we see representatives from 400 different credit unions attending something like this, we see 400 credit unions that are ready to reach out to their members, to inform their members about the resources that are available to them," Rogers said. "We see the members of those credit unions benefitting from this because their credit union is actively looking at ways to spread financial literacy strategies."
The NCUA is active on the social media front as well. It has hosted several Twitter chats this year using its @TheNCUA account, and the @MyCUGov Twitter accounts to tweet out daily tips. Some examples include: "Credit cards must tell you at least 45 days before your rate/account terms change," "Consider keeping emergency savings in a seprate, federally insured savings account" and "Paying bills late can affect your credit score just as much as missing a payment."
Watch for part 2 of this article in the Thursday issue of News Now.