3 Credit Unions Receive MCUF Grants for Zogo Financial App
In 2020, included in the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF)’s Community Enrichment Grants were three grants totalling $10,000 to three credit unions to assist in integrating the Zogo Financial Education app. These grants supplemented the credit unions’ own investment to launch the program this year.
Zogo, which was founded in 2019 by a few Duke University undergraduate students, is an educational app that teaches young people and other underbanked populations about personal finance while rewarding them along the way. The founders idea was to make financial education more fun and engaging for teens, fellow college students and adults.
The three credit unions that received grants were Filer Credit Union, Marshall Community Credit Union and HarborLight Credit Union. MCUL talked with each credit union about their decision to integrate Zogo, how the project has gone so far and how other credit unions can get involved with Zogo.
Filer Credit Union
“Our members don’t generally attend the classes that we offer, so I thought [Zogo] was a great way to bring the classes to the members, and more specifically to their cell phones,” said Merri Nixon, head of Human Resources, after conveying the troubles she’s had reaching members with general financial education initiatives.
Forty-eight percent of Filer’s Zogo users are 35 or older, while 52% of users are below 35 years of age.
Nixon said she talked to one 13-year-old student who was excited to both learn the material on the Zogo app and earn $5 gift cards while doing so. The rewards aspect is an important part of the app.
Looking ahead, she said Zogo is coming out with a web-based application that can be accessed through a laptop, rather than just a mobile app, “I look forward to this so that teachers can use it in the classroom with their students. I have several teachers and a librarian that are interested in using it in their classrooms.”
When asked how other credit unions can get involved, Nixon said, “I would definitely apply for a grant with MCUF, the process was easy and I was delighted to be approved! They may want to put it in your budget for 2022, that way they will have the money earmarked for the program.”
Marshall Community Credit Union
What inspired the credit union to use the MCUF to get involved with Zogo? What was the specific appeal of Zogo?
“MCCU was originally drawn to Zogo due to the fact that it is designed for teens and young adults and was an app specifically for use on mobile devices, which is pretty much the only thing that age group uses,” said Financial Education Coordinator Andrea Tucker.
She was also interested in the app’s ability to allow Marshall Community Credit Union to collect and receive useful data from users, such as age, date of birth, email address and the handful of questions that Zogo asks when users first set up their account.
“Once we had fully decided we were committing to Zogo, my initial thought, being that it was nearly the end of our fiscal year and our new budget was not quite out yet, was, ‘How can we get help covering the cost of this, this first year?’ Of course I turned to Beth Troost, executive director of MCUF,” she continued.
Have you had trouble engaging with/educating Gen Z community members? If so, elaborate.
On the topic of engaging with and educating Gen Z community members, Tucker said it’s always going to be somewhat of a struggle since it’s not common for them to get excited to discuss finance. However, she is confident that Marshall Community Credit Union’s involvement level and strong partnerships with local schools will continue to make a difference.
Marshall Community Credit Union has received positive testimonials so far, with an emphasis on how quickly the learning process has been.
Currently, the credit union’s 251 users have completed 7,370 modules. Tucker and her team are excited to be adding more of Zogo’s tools to their repertoire, including its web modules.
“These are the same Zogo modules found on the app, but will be available in a web version linked from our website, which will be a great use to teachers, community members and groups, as well as for our own classroom presentations and webinars,” said Tucker.
She went on to express how Zogo has proven wrong some of her initial assumptions about the product, “Don’t discount Zogo when you hear that they are a financial education app. When I first heard about it, I instantly assumed since it was an app and it would be out of our budget. But, Zogo has been wonderful to work with and really can make anything work, with anyone’s budget. I’m so glad I was pushed to have that demo call. If not, we may have missed out on this awesome product!”
HarborLight Credit Union
HarborLight got involved with Zogo as a way to reach the youth of the Whitehall area in fun and different ways.
“We do really well with the youth that are involved in the student-run credit unions — they are really loyal,” said Marketing Director Jennifer Hoeker, when asked about the credit union’s challenges to engage the youth. “Otherwise, we do need some help getting some of the younger community members. The majority of our members are a bit older and so we would like to attract younger members so we can capture those big life moments. We have been getting more involved on social media, which seems to have helped a little bit. Our new Financial Education Coordinator is younger and has fresh ideas, so I hope that she will help bring them in.”
According to the credit union, the Zogo app has been effective at getting their name in front of more people. HarborLight currently has 112 Zogo users and 3,461 educational modules completed.
Find out more about Zogo here.
MCUF works with cooperative donations to empower credit unions to increase financial wellbeing by supporting community enrichment, financial education and credit union development initiatives. The Foundation is currently accepting applications for community enrichment grants. Learn more, donate or apply at MCUF.MCUL.org.