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Financial Literacy Local News Stories in Wisconsin

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A series of financial literacy activities were highlighted this week in multiple communities in Wisconsin. 

First, a press release was issued announcing that the UW Credit Union and the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD) partnered to establish a UW Credit Union branch office and ATM inside Middleton High School. The branch is slated to open in late January 2018.  

Second, Delevan-Darien announced this week that the high school was a recipient of the national Next Gen Personal Finance Gold Standard Award.  Only 600 schools nationwide are recognized for this award.  Congratulations to DDHS business education teachers Jodi Scott and Lori Grover.

Additionally on November 7, Co-op Credit Union was featured in a local article recognizing the 2017 Desjardins Award from the Wisconsin Credit Union League.  As cited in the feature article, "Co-op Credit Union will be considered for a national-level honor from the Credit Union National Association.  The League honored CCU for several of its financial education initiatives, including reality day events at area high schools, financial presentations in schools and its work to bring a Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl for high school youth to the La Crosse area. The credit union’s student-run in-school branch at Black River Falls High School, Tiger Credit Union."  

As referenced below from the Wisconsin Credit Union League website the following credit unions were recognized for their support of Youth Financial Education:

Altra Federal Credit Union, La Crosse - First place ($1 billion+ in assets). The credit union developed a Life Stage Financial Education Series that begins with kids ages 8-10 as part of a two-day Cash Camp, moves to a Money Smart Camp for youth ages 11-12 and progresses to a Teens and Money program for ages 13-17.  Later touch points include advice on financing college and a first-time car or home purchase. A $10 savings match coupon encourages young people to open new accounts and supportive interest rates encourage regular deposits. The credit union has participated in reality fairs impacting more than 900 high school students, taught Junior Achievement courses, and developed a personal finance quiz to help local schools gauge the effectiveness of what's being taught in class. Staff provide educational materials and teaching assistance at local schools, four of which have implemented a financial literacy requirement in order to graduate. The credit union reached 2,137 students with 109 presentations last year, ensuring alignment with schools' curriculum requirements (encouraging continued usage). Through a free mobile app, the credit union also helps students save, spend and share by setting goals, practicing math skills through games and initiating family conversations about money. Total student outreach - including staff support for Junior Achievement - last year surpassed 8,091 across three states. The credit union feels its support of financial education for youth and adults has helped lower its average member age to 39.8. Altra also recently created a Political Affairs Committee which ensures employees attend advocacy events and share news about these successes with lawmakers.

Co-op Credit Union, Black River Falls - ($250 million - $1 billion+ in assets). The credit union recently added a Certified Financial Education Instructor to its staff. It also offers a student-run, in-school branch with interest rate incentives for savers. 585 young people are benefiting from this and other efforts to teach financial concepts in class. A reality fair also benefits 9th-12th graders. For 8th graders, the credit union provides quarterly budgeting and savings presentations in class. Credit cards with small limits ease students into proper use of credit and help them build positive credit scores. Several local towns are now benefiting from customized personal finance instruction and ongoing guidance for students and their families. The credit union also supported efforts to bring a Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl to the La Crosse area involving widespread credit union support. The credit union also offers financial lessons through a local co-op youth ambassador program, a native american tribe, the police department and Junior Achievement. Co-op also keeps legislators apprised on these efforts through conversations at The League's state Government Affairs Conference, listening sessions in the district and other community events. 

Taylor Credit Union, Medford. ($50 million - $250 million in assets). The credit union operates three in-school, student-run branches, and partners with a special education program at a local school to teach basic financial Life Skills to help young adults prepare for life on their own. The Life Skills students learn about deposit and withdrawal slips, reading receipts and statements for accuracy, protecting against identity theft, saving, borrowing, shopping wisely and managing a checking account through check writing and keeping a register. The Life Skills group also helps at the regular school branch office to encourage younger savers, and tours the credit union's main office. The credit union also provides rewards for saving and ongoing guidance any time the students seek help. The credit union also organized a Take Your Legislator to Work Day in which the Life Skills group shared their successes working with staff at Taylor to achieve financial preparedness for life on their own.

Glacier Hills Credit Union, West Bend. Second place ($50 million - $250 million in assets). The credit union developed its reality fair for teens to provide "life scenarios" that align with students' career ambitions to increase student interest and engagement. After three successful events, business department faculty are proposing to the school board a financial literacy requirement for the class of 2020. The fairs, which have reached more than 1,000 students, have had strong volunteer support from local businesses. Glacier Hills also worked with business department faculty to develop a checking account workbook.