<p>WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Uncertain how to navigate through current economic times, members are turning to credit unions for guidance and have sparked a renewed credit union dedication to consumer education. With an emphasis on being the “one stop” resource for members, credit unions are hosting seminars that cover topics ranging from financial literacy to home buying. Here is just a sample of what credit unions are doing to meet the educational needs of their community: Credit Union of Texas joined forces with the Allen ISD Human Resources Department and the Allen Retired Educators Association to sponsor two free pre-retirement seminars for area educators and those from surrounding school districts. Teacher retirement system consultant JoAnn Holshouser presented the workshop. Ent Federal Credit Union has signed on to sponsor Junior Achievement’s Personal Economics program designed to teach financial basics to middle school students. The curriculum will be provided to 40 eighth- and ninth-grade classes. Credit union employees present the material during weekly one-hour classes. With many state employees planning to take the government’s early retirement offer the State Employees Credit Union of Michigan, which has about 33,300 state employee members, is offering 24 seminars on retirement investment strategies this year, up from six last year. To take the confusion and uncertainty out of the home buying process Meriwest Credit Union hosts regular home buying seminars through Meriwest Mortgage. The seminars emphasize a friendly, how-to overview and provide consumers with the tools to find the best home for their money. Citadel Federal Credit Union has recently hosted WealthFest 2002, a half-day personal finance conference, which boasted over 140 attendees. Designed to educate members the conference covered such diverse topics including retirement, investments, taxes, insurance and estate planning. Conference participants chose among three, hour-long breakout sessions led by local industry experts. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union has turned its home buyers seminar into an annual event. This year’s over 150 attendees learned about the many mortgage lending options that are available; how to complete mortgage applications; get pre-qualified for mortgage loans; and understand the roles realtors, lawyers, appraisers and home inspectors play in the home buying process. United 1st Federal Credit Union recently sponsored a seminar titled “Creating Your Edge” for teens, parents and teachers featuring motivational speaker Steve Gilliland. Gilliland is the founder and executive director of Performance Plus, a training and development company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With the goal of arming teenagers with helpful tools and empowering practices for their future careers and financial matters, the seminar had a mix of comical anecdotes and practical wisdom. In addition, Gilliland highlighted the importance of setting goals for the future and staying positive in a negative world to the approximately 225 attendees. Due to the overwhelming response to the seminar, the credit union hopes to sponsor a similar event in the fall. Langley Federal Credit Union rolled out a wave of classroom presentations aimed at promoting fiscal responsibility to younger members. The credit union visited elementary schools and during interactive programs highlighted basic savings and spending concepts. Plans are underway to provide more sessions through the end of the year. Earthmover Credit Union helps its members by hosting a free Estate Planning and Long Term Care seminar. [email protected]</p>

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