WASHINGTON (4/25/13)--Financial literacy is a key mission for credit unions, and strong financial education and literacy efforts are even more important in times of economic strife, Cathy Pace, president of the credit union division of Allegacy FCU, Winston Salem, N.C., said during a Wednesday Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee hearing.
"It is in the interest of credit unions and their memberships to have members that are financially literate; therefore, across the country, credit unions engage in a wide variety of efforts aimed at
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee on familes and children, greets Cathy Pace (right) before Pace testifies about the financial education efforts of her credit union, Allegacy FCU of Winston Salem. (CUNA Photo)
ensuring that members of all ages have access to resources that help them make smarter financial choices," Pace said in a prepared statement. She highlighted the efforts of North Carolina credit unions that provide financial counseling and education to more than 500,000 North Carolinians every year.
One way Allegacy contributes to financial education efforts in that state is by participating in a student-run credit union program. That program, Pace said, provides a unique way to develop students financial and business skills through on-campus branches in seven district schools. Students take part in customer service, and build business plans. Withdrawals, deposits, transfers and account openings are all made at these credit unions, Pace noted. All in all, 300 students have worked in the school based credit unions since 2008, she said.
The Credit Union National Association and the National Credit Union Foundation backed up comments in a statement submitted for the hearing record: "Credit unions change lives each day through the 'People Helping People' philosophy that drives the credit union movement." The statement noted that credit unions invest millions each year in financial education and counseling efforts. "Against a fragmented landscape where each credit provider is seeking maximum gain, not-for-profit credit unions continue to be true to their mission of serving as trusted advisors to their members and communities," CUNA and NCUF said.
Garinger High School, Charlotte, N.C., social studies teacher Nicole Lipp; Academic Director for the Global Center for Financial Literacy at The George Washington University Annamaria Lusardi, PhD; National Urban League Vice President Cy Richardson; and Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy representative Curtis Biggs also testified during the hearing.
For more on the hearing, use the resource links.