Thanks to a collaborative certification program, the number of credit union financial counselors in Mississippi has increased from one to 59 at 17 different credit unions in 18 months, the National Credit Union Foundation announced.
The state’s newest financial counselors earned their credentials through the Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program. FiCEP is a joint effort of the NCUF, NCUF’s REAL Solutions program, the Credit Union National Association’s Center for Professional Development, the Mississippi Credit Union Association and participating Mississippi credit unions.
“Our graduates have emerged from the program with renewed enthusiasm and newfound knowledge and skills to implement in their own credit unions,” said Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the MSCUA.
“Our high FiCEP participation and graduation rates are an inspiration and a testimony to the commitment Mississippi credit unions share to be a partner in their members’ financial futures and successes,” Elliott said.
As part of the program, CUNA provided its CPD FiCEP materials for students to study, graded all tests and issued certificates. Mark Lynch, a field coach with REAL Solutions, conducted eight web tutorials and two days of in-person training for students, the NCUF said.
MSCUA’s role was to market the program to credit unions and proctor all student exams, with MSCUA Senior Vice President Tom McWilliams in charge of recruiting students and making the testing process as easy as possible, according to the NCUF.
“FiCEP is a great program to help credit union staff counsel members to better prepare for their future and to assist when they are faced with financial difficulties,” said Lois Kitsch, program director for REAL Solutions. “That is a great extension of the credit union difference, and the more counselors that are certified, the more consumers can achieve financial freedom.”