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The Association of Vermont Credit Unions is determined to make credit counseling services pervasive at all CUs in the state.The AVCU said its year-long project to train and place a certified credit counselor in every CU in the state is bearing fruit with 18 CUs signed up so far.AVCU said it is drawing on grants and internal funds to pay for the training services offered for free at one certified counselor per CU.The program was put together last February under auspices of AVCU’s Social Responsibility Committee.Under “the Vermont Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor Program, every AVCU member credit union will have the opportunity to have a CUNA certified financial counselor on their staff by June 30, 2010, at no cost to the credit union,” explained Joe Bergeron, president/CEO of AVCU.While 18 CUs have registered one full-time employee for the program so far, “many are electing to place additional staffers into the program at their own expense in order to take full advantage of this unique training opportunity,” said Bergeron stressing that the need for financial education has now become urgent in Vermont, as well as elsewhere, in light of the depressed economy.AVCU said it has hired a top credit counseling executive from Wisconsin. Ken King, a 10-year trustee of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, will lead the first major training event of the program, an Oct. 6 seminar in West Lebanon, N.H.King, who also is executive director of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service and Family Service Association of Sheboygan, Wis., is an instructor and facilitator for CUNA’s Certified Financial Counselor Schools and a contributor to CUNA FiCEP modules.The registration fee for one student per enrolled CU will be paid by Vermont’s share of the National Credit Union Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. Additional personnel from enrolled credit unions can receive a 20% discount off the regular fee.Employees from CUs not enrolled in the program or outside of Vermont are welcome to participate and can take advantage of the 20% discount by sending multiple attendees to the seminar, said AVCU.“Participation is appropriate for loan officers, collections staff and anyone involved in member service, community outreach, or financial literacy efforts,” said AVCU. “This seminar is a terrific opportunity to greatly enhance the skills of a credit union’s member support team and take a counseling program to the next level.”–[email protected]

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