Wichita CU embeds fin. lit., counseling in community

February 6, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (2/9/15)--Chalk up one more thing credit unions do better than banks.

Click to view larger imageMedical Community CU's Regina Freige, center, with Nancy Krase, Child Start, far left, Money$mart students Amber and Jennifer, and Susie Bustos, Child Start. (Kansas Credit Union Association Photo)

Medical Community CU, Wichita, Kan., was recently approached by two local community outreach organizations that wanted the $19 million-asset credit union to offer financial literacy classes.

When run with the help of a local bank, the classes failed to draw many students.

After a few tweaks to the curriculum by Regina Freige, Medical Community loan officer, which included adding material from the Money$mart program through the Kansas Credit Union Association, the credit union offered the class through Dear Neighbor Ministries and Child Start.

"Even though it is geared for middle school age, the Money$mart curriculum was easy for everyone to understand," Freige said (Vision Feb. 5). "I used the program curriculum mostly as a guide, and lead the classes in a discussion group, involving the families' experiences as well as my own."

The class was well-received by the students, and Dear Neighbor Ministries and Child Start plan to offer another class in the spring.

The organizations also would like to be trained in the Money$mart curriculum so they can pass on the financial literacy skills they learn to the rest of the community.

Freige has also seen a recent surge in member requests for budgeting and debt management help, and her recent certification in the CUNA Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) has helped her better serve these members.

"I learned a lot through the process and feel the FiCEP certification has made me a better loan officer," Freige said. "In turn, I am better equipped to serve our members."