BURLINGTON, Vt. (12/7/10)--The Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) is partnering with the Vermont National Guard (VTNG) to provide financial counseling to service members returning from Afghanistan. With as many as 1,500 VTNG service members returning from Afghanistan, the VTNG estimates that as many as 30% will be unemployed, and an additional 30% will return to lesser paying jobs. Those figures do not account for other non-financial complications and challenges, (Newsline Express Dec. 3). “Many returning soldiers are expected to incur financial difficulties that likely require ongoing support, education and guidance,” AVCU President Joe Bergeron told credit union managers and CEOs in a letter last week. “We’re assisting the guard in building a network of participating financial institution branch offices throughout the state to serve as a local community resource of financial counseling services for these men and women coming home after serving our country.“ The Vermont National Guard Financial Institution Support Network comprises financial institution locations with staff available to teach basic personal financial skills and provide on-going counseling to service members and families. Bergeron noted that the program “is a great way to leverage the success of AVCU’s Certified CU Financial Counselor (CCUFC) Training program that began in 2009.” The program has since been implemented by the Michigan and Utah Leagues. In 2011, the National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions program plans to adapt Vermont’s CCUFC pilot for development at several partner leagues. Due to federal regulations, VTNG said it will not endorse or recommend a particular financial institution, branch, or counselor. It make the network list available and may, at the service member’s request, contact the institution and/or counselor chosen by the service member to facilitate a meeting. Bergeron asked credit unions to submit their counselor’s contact information by Friday so the association can compile a list of participating credit unions and counselors for inclusion in VTNG’s Financial Institution Support Network database. To register, use the link.