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65,000 In Northwest Benefitted From CUs' Financial Education
BEAVERTON, Ore. (6/18/13)--Financial education presentations made by Northwest credit union professionals last year benefitted more than 65,000 people, according to the Northwest Credit Union Association.

"If a credit union hosts a Financial Reality Fair in the community, it is a real value for the students and we've found very fulfilling for the credit union staff, too," said Kasey Rockwell, NWCUA director of outreach programs (Anthem Recap June 11). Rockwell recently organized Reality Fairs during state capitol advocacy days in Olympia, Wash., and Salem, Ore. "It is probably the most effective one-day event you could sponsor that students would remember and benefit from for the rest of their lives."

Despite those numbers, 48 out of 50 credit unions responding to a regional survey last year noted barriers such as availability of presentation materials, difficulty building relationships with schools and time constraints.

The NWCUA's Credit Union Financial Education Committee is providing solutions to those barriers by hosting two Best Practice Roundtable events this summer. The roundtables are funded by a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.

The agenda for the first workshop includes a mock "Financial Reality Fair" during which attendees will learn how to organize an interactive budgeting exercise. Students select a career, research the starting salary and come prepared to navigate a maze of necessary and luxury purchases such as food, transportation, clothing and entertainment. They must leave with balanced budgets.

Credit union educators Teresa Shivley from Gesa CU in Richland, Wash., and Danette LaChapelle from iQ CU in Vancouver, Wash., will share strategies for in-school credit union branches.

Also on the agenda is Linda Jekel, director of credit unions for the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. Jekel helps make the Financial Education Public Private Partnership available to credit union educators and classrooms. Her topic is "Helping Teachers with Financial Education."

Terry Belcoe, CEO of North Coast CU, Bellingham, Wash., will share the vision of "One Community, One Voice," a program pooling resources of financial institutions and community organizations in Bellingham, to help under-banked consumers build assets.

In a related topic, a panel of credit union educators will share models credit unions can use to reach adults through community events.

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