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Consider consumers in different ways Tufano says
Click to view larger image Closing speaker Peter Tufano stressed the importance of making financial education simple, easy to understand and fun in order to help develop a savings culture among members.
GLASGOW, Scotland (7/29/11)--Financial education is too often boring, which is why so many credit union members fail financial literacy tests, according to Peter Tufano, Pete Moores Dean and a professor of finance with the University of Oxford’s Saïd School of Business. Financial education that is simple, easy to understand and, above all, fun is more likely to help credit unions develop a savings culture among their members, according Tufano, the closing speaker at World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) World Credit Union Conference. “Credit unions should be open to all people, just like it says in the Rochdale Principles,” said Tufano, who assumed his Oxford position July 1 after spending 22 years on faculty at the Harvard University Business School. “However, sometimes a credit union’s structure makes it hard to do well while trying to do good.” Tufano is a specialist in consumer finance, with particular emphasis on applying research insights to better meet the financial services needs of everyday households. Based on the research he presented to the general session audience, consumer financial education and personal economic security is in a very rocky place.
Click to view larger image "Credit unions are stronger and the outlook brighter than you may think," said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz, while reminding credit union attendees their responsibility to be vigilant and act in the face of future challenges.
In one study, researchers asked whether consumers could come up with $2,000 within 30-days’ notice to cover a minor emergency. Great Britain ranked the highest with 49% of adults surveyed claiming they could meet that level of need, while just 46% of adults responded positively in the U.S. Other countries went precipitously downhill from there. The answer, of course, is more effective financial education and the cultivation of a stronger savings culture among members to the degree that those members have the capability to support it. Often, age and economic standards play a major role in debt literacy. Creating educational programs that operate more like video games may be part of the solution, said Tufano, who pointed to as a good example of what he defined as a new and, perhaps, more effective approach. “You have to understand your member, not only by understanding what they know, but what they think they know,” Tufano said. “If there is a natural metaphor for money, it is water. Because water can both nurture us and drown us.”
Click to view larger image CUNA Chair Harriet May (left) and President and CEO Bill Cheney (center) present outgoing WOCCU President and CEO Pete Crear with a resolution.
Wednesday's closing session also featured a presentation by Debbie Matz, chair of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the United States’ top credit union regulator. Matz stressed the strength of the industry but also encouraged a more global view when it comes to current trends involving capital adequacy, industry consolidation and meeting consumer needs. “Credit unions are stronger and the outlook brighter than you may think, but we can't afford to become complacent in facing the challenges of the future,” said Matz, who is serving her second term as NCUA chair. “I am struck by the level of contact many of you have with your members. You live the credit union credo of ‘not for profit, not for charity, but for service.’” Matz was introduced by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) president/CEO Bill Cheney and Chair Harriet May, president/CEO of GECU of El Paso, Texas. The pair also presented outgoing WOCCU president/CEO Pete Crear with a resolution from the CUNA board of directors honoring Crear's 40-plus years of service to the global credit union movement.


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