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Illinois modified FiCEP program begins second year
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/8/12)--Forty individuals from Illinois credit unions are participating in the second year of the REAL Solutions Enhanced Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP), funded by the Illinois Credit Union Foundation.

Two significant modifications were made in the second year of the program--which began yesterday--to allow more Illinois credit unions to participate, said the Illinois Credit Union League.

The enhancements include a reduction in cost and an increase in number and locations of proctored test sites. The Illinois foundation board of directors is covering the cost of enhancement. The only cost to Illinois credit unions is the purchase of the FiCEP books and exams from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

In the first year of the Illinois program, 23 individuals from 11 credit unions graduated as Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors (CCUFC).

As CUNA's financial counseling certification self-study program, FiCEP enables all credit union staff to become more confident in helping members build a stronger financial future. FiCEP is designed for credit union staff members who work in the financial counseling, collection and loan departments, or any others committed to helping members gain control of their financial futures.

Modeled after the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, FiCEP includes two parts of four learning modules each. When participants successfully complete the proctored exams for both parts, they become CCUFCs--ready to assist credit union members.

The Illinois league and foundation teamed up with the National Credit Union Foundation in 2009 to offer "REAL Solutions for Low Wealth Households." Currently, 87 credit unions in the state are participating. REAL stands for Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing, and is operated by 35 leagues representing 37 states. More than 1,000 credit unions are part of the program.
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