X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico Credit Union League, convinced cyberspace is the vehicle to reach young people, is offering an innovative education package making use of teen “message boards,” Web sites and youth-written newsletters to convey a pro-CU message. The program, called “CU Succeed,” expects to sign up eight to 10 New Mexico CUs and is set to formally debut in August. If successful, the program aimed at reaching “the next baby boomer generation,” will be rolled out nationally within six months to other state Leagues. “You’ve seen the startling numbers: less than 14% of credit union members are under the age of 24,” reads a brochure describing CU Succeed. “If this alarming trend continues,” says the brochure, “where will your loans come from when the baby-boomer generation retires?” While youth education programs have been tried for years by individual CUs and by leagues in various forms, the New Mexico program seems unusual in allowing teens to access a Web site to communicate with one another about personal finance, as well as having their own League-supervised newsletter on finance education matters. The League will encourage articles in the newsletters-all branded by participating CUs-to be written by teens who also can log on to “message boards” to share their testimonials on such topics as saving for college education, getting a credit card and buying a car. “Cyberspace is the future particularly when you see your teenagers living on the Internet, and so it seemed logical that we in credit unions ought to be where they are,” maintained Anne McKinney, marketing manager at the $150 million Sandia Area Federal Credit Union in Albuquerque, which is one of the early signers for CU Succeed. One of McKinney’s two teenagers-16-year-old Maralyn Beck-will be writing one of the first columns in a debut CU newsletter slated to go to the printer any day. McKinney also has a 15-year-old son, but both of her children can benefit, she said, from “learning how to manage finances.” CU Succeed, being offered to New Mexico CUs at $250-$500 for the “enrollment” package depending on a CU’s size, is an outgrowth of a two-year-old savings program aimed at younger children age 12 and younger and called “Coyote Kid.” Under Coyote Kid, youngsters receive coupons good for school supplies, backpacks and other products once they sign up and start making deposits in share accounts. The League counts 12 CUs in the state as participants in “Coyote Kid” with 7,000 accounts and deposits of $2.5 million. Meanwhile, CU Succeed, aimed at the 13-18 age bracket, was developed by the League’s Youth Involvement Committee, which will oversee operations to ensure the message exchange stays at an acceptable level. “We don’t want to turn the message board into a junk room where teens make dates and find out about parties,” maintained Chris Fitzgerald, a member of the League’s Youth Involvement Committee and vice president of marketing at the $47 million Rio Grande Credit Union of Albuquerque. Fitzgerald said both the newsletters and the Web site message board would be “monitored” by the committee acting as an editorial board to make sure the focus is on “financial aspects.” Ray Beauchamp, marketing services manager for the League who helped design CU Succeed, said the long-term goal has been finding a way to reach teens and get them more interested in CU worthiness. “Many times teens won’t listen to parents or other adults, but they will listen to other teens,” said Beauchamp. “We decided early on that two important components of this program would be a full-color newsletter that would feature teen-aged writers, and an interactive Web site that would include original content written by teens.” The League said one of its missions was to develop a turnkey program designed for the smaller CU that would be easy to administer and would be affordable. “Too often it seems the best programs are available only to credit unions with big marketing budgets,” said Fitzgerald of Rio Grande. “Our goal is to take advantage of bulk discounts available through the League and pass those savings on to credit unions in the program.” The Web site, www.cusucceed.net, can be customized and co-branded by each CU using a Web-based formula, said Fitzgerald. “Editing of the content area requires no knowledge of Web programming languages, and the content is updated instantly,” said Fitzgerald. Components of CU Succeed will include share accounts, share draft accounts, auto loans co-signed by a parent or guardian and a limited share-secured credit card. CUs will be encouraged to host seminars to help educate teenagers on specific financial issues. McKinney said she has already been active in fostering up teen CU financial education at high schools near CU branches by taking part in business partnership lectures arranged by the Chamber of Commerce. McKinney said the newsletter and Web site offer a chance for teens-like her two youngsters-to learn how to manage their own personal finances. In addition, the material in CU Succeed can help them chart a career path. She said she is unworried about “misuse” of either the Web site or the newsletters. “I tend to think of the best of today’s teens,” McKinney said. -

Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2019 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.