To help credit unions promote the importance of financial literacy, CUNA created the Financial Literacy Task Force.
The task force developed the “Long-Term Strategic Plan to Empower Member by Improving Financial Literacy” that addresses the financial education needs of three groups: young people, adult members, and the underserved. In it, they offer seven recommendations they feel will help elevate financial literacy to the level of a core value within credit unions to help sustain the movement’s ongoing philosophy of service to members and communities. Key recommendations included: hosting a national financial literacy event in 2008; developing an online financial resource center; developing national targets, goals, and measurement tools; and creating a “National Financial Literacy Champion” designation to recognize credit unions’ commitment to financial literacy in their strategic plans.
The CUNA board adopted this plan in September 2007, and CUNA moved forward on the recommendations. For example, CUNA’s online financial resource center (www.cunapfi.org) is live. This is a one-stop location for information, resources, best practices, research and policy, and an interactive financial literacy community where practitioners can discuss financial literacy issues. CUNA held its first Personal Finance Institute this past fall. It allows credit unions to work together to develop a financial literacy plan that focuses on educating and measuring the effectiveness of those educational efforts. And finally, CUNA is developing a national awards program that will draw attention to the credit unions that do the best job providing education to their members.
CUNA worked with National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) on a major update to its High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP). The revised seven-unit curriculum, which became available March 2007, teaches the basics of money management to young people. More than half a million students have participated in credit union-assisted HSFPP between September 2007 and the 2000-2001 academic year – the first year CUNA began tracking credit unions' participation. Overall, the HSFPP has educated more than 4 million students since 2000-2001.
The fifth annual National Youth Savings Challenge, held in conjunction with National Credit Union Youth Week set a new record in 2008 of more than $12 million deposited by 76,500 kids in one week. That’s up from $1.6 million in 2004.