Many credit unions are helping consumers make the best of these lean times.
First Credit Union has launched a "Working to Save You a Million" initiative to help members and nonmembers find ways to save money.
In addition to educating consumers about refinancing loans, the Chandler, Ariz.-based credit union has been posting money-saving tips on Facebook and Twitter. From links to coupons for local businesses and entertainment to free exercise classes and tips on travel savings, First CU has been busy sharing deals with consumers. So far the response has been positive and many locals have been posting their own money-saving tricks.
"Our new initiative is helping shed light on something credit unions have been doing for years and that is offering consumers affordable financial services options," said First CU Chief Operations Officer Lori Gallegos.
With budgets stretched thin, date nights have been limited, but FAA Credit Union stands ready to help. The Oklahoma City-based credit union has hosted a $40 Date Night Challenge, where four lucky couples will have the opportunity to go on a date with a budget of $40 and document the details in an online blog for a chance to win a $250 cash prize. Encouraged to be creative, use local restaurants and stay in the Oklahoma City metro area, the couples' dates will be posted on the credit union's Facebook page
(facebook.com/faacreditunion), where fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite.
Wanting to help ease college costs, Subcat Marketing has launched its second annual Tweet for College Scholarship.
Open to high school seniors who belong to their credit union's Elements of Money teen program, teens simply have to submit an essay answering the question "What does it mean to be a credit union member?" in 140 characters or less. The best tweets will receive $2,000.
"We launched last year's scholarship as a way to test Twitter as a media channel for our teen program and the response was overwhelming. We had teens from across the country tweeting about the positive impact credit unions make on people's lives. It was insightful to read what teens had to say about credit unions," said James Flores, president/CEO of Subcat Marketing.
In Portland, Ore., OnPoint Community Credit Union has also been doing its part to help education efforts by unveiling its 2011 Prize for Excellence in Education contest. The second annual contest will award nearly $45,000 to deserving public and private K-12 teachers and their schools, including paying the mortgage for one year of the Educator of the Year, plus providing $5,000 to the teacher's school.
A Community Choice winner will be awarded $1,500 cash and receive $1,500 for his or her school, and three finalists will each collect $1,500, as well as $1,500 for their schools. The winners will be announced on May 3, National Teacher Day.