LAWRENCE, Kan. (8/27/10)--Among those testifying as to Kansas credit unions' efforts in financial literacy before a House subcommittee Wednesday was the state's credit union regulator, John Smith, administrator of the Kansas Department of Credit Unions (KDCU). He and Chris Wolgamott, community development liaison at Wichita-based Meritrust CU, testified before the House Financial Services Committee subcommittee on oversight and investigations' hearing on "Empowering Consumers: Can Financial Literacy Education Prevent Another Financial Crisis?" "A key lesson that we've learned from the financial crisis is that we need to do a better job across sectors--local, state and federal government, private industry, non-profits, etc.--to utilize scarce resources to better promote financial literacy education," said subcommittee Chairman Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), in his opening statement. In his testimony, Smith noted that many credit unions are committed to increasing financial literacy among their credit union membership and into the community. He cited three examples:
* First Choice CU, Maize, which has sponsored an in-school branch at a local high school the past three years; * Sunflower U.P. FCU, Marysville, which provides in-class financial education for grades K-12 in surrounding parochial and public schools; and * K-State FCU, Manhattan, which has participated in the State Treasurer's Save@School program since 2004.
Financial literacy enhances KDCU's position as a safety and soundness regulator, and the department supports such financial literacy efforts, Smith told the subcommittee. Wolgamott's testimony, which was featured in Thursday's News Now
, highlighted Meritrust CU's financial education efforts and experiences. Wolgamott testified at the request of the Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA). Throughout the hearing, Kansas credit unions were referred to repeatedly for their work in this area, said KCUA. Financial Services Committee member Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), who has worked with credit unions since her tenure as Kansas State Treasurer, said, "Kansas credit unions have stepped up to the plate in a big way to address financial literacy issues in Kansas." Current State Treasurer Dennis McKinney called the state's credit unions one of his department's "largest partners" in financial literacy efforts.