<p>WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – With job layoffs and a recession, credit unions are stepping up to the plate to educate members. Most seminars are free, open to public and cover topics ranging from basic money management to understanding tax laws. Here is a glimpse at what some credit unions are doing to increase financial literacy: The Summit Chapter of Credit Unions will be offering eight free Consumer Credit Counseling classes this year to help consumers get a better handle on their finances. The two-hour seminar will be available to all credit union members and the general public. Topics will include "After Christmas Blues", a quick overview of an individual's current financial picture and what steps to take; "How to get ready for tax time"; "Home Buyers Seminar; Budgeting 101; and "Preparing your finances to take a vacation. Wright-Patt Credit Union is helping members make sense of the new tax laws with its seminars through a partnership with H & R Block. Featuring an H&R Block tax professional, seminars offer members advice and tips on how to take advantage of the new tax and savings opportunities. In addition to the educational seminars, Wright-Patt is offering H&R Block tax service discounts to its members. Freedom Credit Union is helping some Philadelphia teens learn the basics of money management by establishing a financial planning program at Dobbins/Randolph Area Vocational Technical School. Dobbins teacher Carolyn Munson has integrated educational materials provided by FCU into her Entrepreneurship class since many students do not get this kind of information "at home around the dinner table." Students learn budgeting skills and how to obtain credit and maintain good credit. University of Virginia Community Credit Union will host free Home Buyers' Seminars. A panel of experts will outline the home buying process form start-to-finish. First time homebuyers will learn more about title insurance, credit reports and asset statements, appraisals, the closing process, and types of mortgage loans available through the credit union. [email protected]</p>

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