Reaching out to the community to increase financial literacy is a mainstay of the credit union movement. However, many institutions fail to recognize one significant group that’s close to home—their own employees.
All employers, including credit unions, will benefit by offering financial education to their staff. The following are four reasons why you should consider implementing a program in 2010.
- The current state of economic affairs.
With real estate values plummeting, unemployment rising and living expenses increasing most people are distracted by their financial concerns—including your employees.
In fact, a recent Society for Human Resource Management poll noted that 35% of employers reported a demand spike for financial education from their employees in the past 12 months. Nearly two-thirds of companies have responded by providing some type of financial education resource for their employees.
The result? On-the-job concentration levels increase due to a sense of overall financial well-being.
- Lower employee turnover.
A recent study published by the Filene Research Institute, “The Economics of Serving Low-Income Employees at Tax Time: Implications for Credit Unions” examined a program offered by Staples, Inc., in which tax preparation help was offered to low-income employees.
Named “Tax Break,” the nonprofit organization Progress through Business partnered with H&R Block to offer discounted tax preparation service to low-income Staples employees. In addition to the tax service, H&R Block professionals also encouraged individuals to participate in five Staples benefit programs and two public plans covering subsidized childcare and energy assistance.
One significant benefit Staples found was lower employee turnover. Retention increased by 32%—an improvement that provided a tremendous return on investment. Staples determined that for each employee who participated at a cost of $75, the company saved $480.
- Increase in contributions to employer-based accounts.
Improved confidence and understanding of finances leads to an increase in contributions to employer-based accounts. The Filene report demonstrated the combination of financial education and free tax advice resulted in a significant boost in employer-sponsored plans such as stock purchases, 401(k) retirement plans and tuition reimbursement.
- Increased sales.
When employees understand the products they are selling, their confidence increases and they can explain things to members in easy-to-understand terms. This means credit unions offering financial education to employees see their sales increase and remain strong after training.
Case studies conducted by Precision Information, LLC, found that credit unions offering Educated Investor® University to their employees experienced considerable spikes in product sales. Sample results include credit unions with a:
- 275% increase in sales of new investment products
- 325% increase in gross revenue
- 275% growth in IRA account sales
- 282% increase in money deposited in new IRAs
- 321% increase in new term deposit accounts
The Credit Union Executives Society has partnered with Precision Information to offer two online financial education courses—Educated Investor University for credit union employees, and Financial Success Suite for credit union members. To learn more, visit www.cues.org/educatedinvestor/ or www.cues.org/fss/.
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