The Investor Education in Your Workplace program is being rolled out in North Carolina, with an initial quiz and survey set for March 28.
Coursework and a final quiz and survey are scheduled for July 1.
IEiYW was developed as a joint effort of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the Investor Protection Trust. It has also been offered in Pennsylvania.
The program reflects growing realization that credit union employees, simply because they work at a financial institution, aren’t necessarily familiar with financial issues ranging from investing to retirement planning, working with financial advisers and saving for college.
They need additional knowledge to handle their own financial affairs. Armed with that knowledge, they can also better respond to member questions and direct them to investor education resources.
In North Carolina, the program is being coordinated by the North Carolina Credit Union League, the Secretary of State’s Security Division and the Investor Protection Trust. The goal is for 2,500 credit union staff, volunteers, state employees and SEGs to each commit ten hours of online learning to investor education.
Backers point out that in Wisconsin the program increased participants’ investment knowledge by more than 41%. In Pennsylvania the average increase topped 38%.
They cite a Securities Industry Association survey indicating 70% of Americans want more basic information about budgeting, retirement and investing, and 84% want the financial industry and their employer to do more to educate them.
John Radebaugh, CEO of the North Carolina league, noted the league was contacted about the program a couple years ago but felt it didn’t have the staff to undertake the effort. A couple months ago the league was alerted that a grant from the IPT was available.
"I think we’ll meet our goal of 2,500," Radebaugh said. "If there is a challenge, it’s making sure credit unions understand what the program is and what the objective is–to educate their employees on how to invest their money. Sometimes we assume just because a person works for a financial institution they understand a lot about investing and saving money. That’s not necessarily true."