Donna Steckino, president/CEO of Community Credit Union in Lewiston and Auburn, testified on behalf of the Maine Credit Union League at a public hearing before the Insurance and Financial Services Committee in Augusta. Steckino testified in support of L.D. 1649, a bill aimed at aiding the state's low-income families.
The bill would create a working group, which would include a credit union representative, and focus on developing and marketing starter accounts with features that would benefit low-income families; educating low-income families without accounts about the benefits of account ownership and encourage those families to open accounts. It would also aid in educating and assisting low-income families with basic money management skills and create coalitions of financial institutions, financial regulators, municipal officials and nonprofit corporations to market starter accounts to low-income families.
"Financial difficulties impact such a big part of our lives so anything we can do to help make the situation better for people can make a big difference, not just financially but psychologically, as well. Part of our outreach has included providing opportunities to people who have little or no understanding of how to handle finances. Maine credit unions provide ongoing, free learning opportunities to our members and the public on topics, such as how to manage a checking account, preparing a budget and the concept and importance of saving", Steckino explained to the committee.
Steckino's testimony outlining the special programs offered by a number of Maine credit unions that directly target low-income members was applauded by committee members.