After its first credit union pilot two years ago, FoolProof, the financial literacy package of the Credit Union Associations of Colorado/Wyoming, is on a roll this spring. signing up its 10,000th user and now counting 750 high schools.
To date, there are 93 CUs and 11 state leagues as participants, said founders of the turnkey venture popular with CUs as an advocacy tool and favored by high school teachers because of its flexibility.
FoolProof backers and users claim the online "Move Your Money" promotions have also aided the effort to highlight CUs.
"This financial education program offers to our members tough consumer advocacy. but it is not an infomercial disguised as advocacy," maintained Tony Budet, president/CEO of the $1.1 billion University FCU of Austin, Texas. Budet said the program "differentiates us from what banks are doing."
FoolProof backers also contend the interactive and video-driven program is seeing more signups in high schools and colleges, it also has converts among community nonprofits.
For one, the $234 million Envision CU of Tallahassee, Fla., recently linked up with the local United Way to offer a co-branded FoolProof financial education Web site for high school and college-aged young people as part of a United Way financial literacy campaign. The site launched April 1.
The Maryland Consumers League said it is putting FoolProof videos on its home page, which helps guide consumers in choosing which FoolProof CU they would like to join
And in Pennsylvania, 95 teachers signed up with FoolProof over the last two weeks after the state's Office of Financial Literacy sent an e-mail notice about the high school curriculum to 6,000 educators.
Elsewhere, the $837 million Black Hills FCU of Rapid City, S.D.. said it has attained "an impressive reputation" in the community because so many teachers have signed up.
Kylene Casanova, membership development coordinator at Black Hills, said the program has allowed her CU "to demonstrate our commitment" to financial literacy "at no cost to the schools."