Credit Unions Kick-off Money Smart Week Events in Detroit (Misc News: April 19, 2010)
Michigan’s credit unions, acknowledged leaders in youth financial education, will hold more than 75 community financial education events between April 17-26 as part of Money Smart Week. An official kick-off event hosted on April 19 by the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago featured Sheila McKean, senior outreach and program manager from the Chicago Fed, as well as WDIV’s Business Editor Rod Meloni and MCUL President/CEO David Adams.
“There is an immense need for consumer financial education, and credit unions teach and encourage responsible financial behavior,” Adams said. “In addition to ongoing work in communities and schools statewide, credit unions and the MCUL are training more certified financial counselors, spurring savings through the Save to Win program, and working to keep residents in their homes through the Center for Financial Health, the Right at Home initiative, and the Homeowners Assistance task force.”
Started in 2002 in Chicago, Money Smart Week has expanded to five states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin) and will include more than 250 events in Michigan this year. Also part of the week’s events is the Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge, which this year has matched 48 state lawmakers with credit unions and local schools to encourage youth financial literacy.
Michigan’s credit unions are national leaders in youth financial education, with more than 350 student-run credit unions and 47,000 students participating in presentations with credit union financial educators during the 2008-2009 school year. Both are the highest totals for credit unions in any state.
The Save to Win program has received national attention and is designed to appeal to credit union members who are not in the habit of saving, helping many families who had been spending money on lottery tickets instead. A survey taken during the 2009 program found that 59 percent of participants had spent money on the lottery over the previous six months and that less than half saved money regularly before opening their Save to Win accounts.
Despite Michigan’s difficult economy, more people recognize the benefits of joining a credit union, with membership growing by more than 40,000 in 2009 to more than 4.4 million, while savings deposits were up 12.2 percent to $32.5 billion. Lending was up 4.1 percent overall, while business lending grew by 18 percent. Credit unions statewide have also pledged $43 million in business loans as part of Governor Granholm’s Small Business Financing Alliance.