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Minn. Commerce Commissioner Visits Cook Area CU
COOK, Minn.  (10/28/13)--Cook (Minn.) Area CU hosted a meeting on Tuesday with the Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman to discuss the credit union's efforts in providing financial education and to commend the credit union for its educational services to students and the community at large.
Click to view larger image Rich Crettol, right, CEO of Cook Area CU, told Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman about the credit union's financial education efforts to benefit its members, the communities and local schools. Commissioner Rothman was in Cook Oct. 22 as part of his statewide outreach tour focused on financial literacy and financial capability. (Photo provided by Cook Area CU)
Cook Area CU was among the commissioner's stops on his fall "outreach tour," in which he is visiting credit unions, banks, community organizations and local businesses across the state.
In recent years, financial literacy and financial capability have been a major focus for Rothman and the Department of Commerce. Through the outreach tour, the commissioner is learning more about the efforts of organizations across the state to help improve the lives of consumers by stressing the importance of personal financial management.
Rothman applauded Cook Area CU for its financial counseling and educational programs for members and the community, and for its involvement in the North Woods School, a K-12 school in Cook.
"It's really amazing and terrific to see how they have reached out to the local school district and kids--to be able to show the value of personal finance and financial education," Rothman said. "I commend them for doing that."

Credit union staff spent the afternoon discussing their various programs, including:
  • Educational workshops and financial counseling through a partnership with Lutheran Social Services;
  • Contributions to schools as guest speakers on topics such as buying a car, balancing a checkbook and obtaining student loans;
  • A partnership with BizKid$, the PBS financial education TV show and curriculum that the credit union offers free to all five schools in its district;
  • Cook Area CU's Credit Builder Loan Program, which helps members with poor credit or no credit reduce debt, improve their credit rating, and establish good savings habits;
  • Participation in National Credit Union Youth Week in April, which works to engage students of all ages and teach them basics of personal finance;
  • College scholarships for high school students, a program that was established in 1982; and
  • An annual Family Fun Night in October, which welcomes hundreds of kids, and uses the opportunity to teach financial education to attendees.
 "With the financial education we provide, people know that we're here to help them," said Rich Crettol, Cook Area CU. "This is how we take care of our members."

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