Case Study from Callahan Credit
Union Member Education Strategies New Mexico Educators FCU
Many credit unions conduct presentations on financial literacy to schools as
part of their community outreach efforts. This year, New Mexico Educators FCU
stepped up its youth education, designing several programs to help youth of
all ages make better financial decisions and gain a sense of financial responsibility.
In explaining the growing need for youth-oriented programs, Sharla Reinhart,
membership development director, described some of the changes she had witnessed
over time. For many years, the credit union has conducted financial education
sessions for the parents of incoming freshmen at the University of New Mexico
(one of their SEGs). When Reinhart first began these presentations, only 5%
of parents said that incoming freshmen had experience managing a checking account.
Now 95% of kids have a checking account by the time they get to college. ''The
parents were so excited they asked if there was something available targeted
to their kids.''
To effectively meet needs, programs were created that were appropriate to each
age range. Classes for children at the elementary and middle school levels address
topics such as how to make good buying decisions, questions to ask before making
a purchase, and budgeting. For teens, topics include credit reports and how
credit is evaluated.
Reinhart stressed the importance of keeping the sessions fun and interactive
with lots of games. Also, young people are more receptive to information if
you speak to them in their own language, provide examples they can relate to,
and use humor. The sessions have been extremely popular.
The sessions have been extremely popular. They are promoted via newsletter,
branch signage and statement stuffers. ''We allot 35 kids in each class and
we've been turning people away. We've built a reputation for these programs.''
The credit union will continue to refine and improve the programs. According
to Reinhart, they are working to develop a more comprehensive youth program
that includes educational modules and a tracking process.
For more information on effective strategies, please check out Callahan's recent
white paper on member education.