NCUF reported at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference back in February that its greatest programmatic challenge would be to keep up with the "tremendous demand" from the leagues and credit unions for its new signature program, REAL Solutions.
At the ACUC&E, NCUF expected to report that "we have reallocated resources to REAL Solutions in order to meet the interests of these leagues and credit unions, putting NCUF in the position to be able to implement REAL Solutions in as many as 25 states by the end of 2007. This reallocation does not have a significant impact on our other major programs."
The program initially anticipated 10 leagues would participate by the end of 2007 but demand has reached more than double that. "As a result, the Foundation made a series of internal resource adjustments to embrace this opportunity and create a critical mass of leagues around REAL Solutions," NCUF said. The foundation allocated an additional $277,525 to contract more REAL Solutions Field Coaches, provide a second national training session for leagues, and commission more extensive research to measure the program's impact.
To speed up implementation, the NCUF was able to cut costs by $166,500, which will allow more earnings from the Community Investment Fund to go to REAL Solutions. As a result, the NCUF grant budget had to be reduced to $111,025 but with higher returns from the CIF, the grant program is expected to maintain the $600,000 level from last year.
Nearly 300 credit unions will be offering model products and services in 14 states and 10 more leagues have expressed an interest.