3 Ways Credit Unions Can Help Veterans
Veterans and their supporters said there are three ways credit unions could help returning service members improve their financial lives: Teach them how money works, help them move past previous mistakes and provide access to loan products established just for them.
“In general, I don’t think credit unions need to create special products just for veterans,” said Debbie Guiney, CEO of the $69 million Allcom Credit Union in Worcester, Mass. “They just need us to be aware they are out there and for us to reach out to make sure they know about what we offer and how it can help them.”
1. Financial Education and Basic Services
“I think basic financial education, how money works and how to manage and handle finances is one of the most important things credit unions can provide returning service members,” Guiney said, adding since almost all credit unions already offer some sort of financial education, it’s often a matter of making sure the veteran knows about the educational offerings and feels comfortable using them.
2. Refinance Expensive Loans
Even though many veterans lack a credit history, if they have been out of the service for a few years they may have been ensnared in high-interest, high-fee loans that can slow their financial progress, according to Guiney and other executives who work with veterans. Credit unions can help veterans by reviewing their existing loans and refinancing them with better rates and terms.
3. Offer VA Home Loans
Nguyen felt frustration, but not surprise, that neither the NCUA nor the Veterans Administration tracks the numbers of credit unions offering VA loans. But he said he is certain more credit unions need to offer them.