Register For Our New Online Classes!

Why credit unions should focus on young financial literacy

Young literacy programs at credit unions can be beneficial.

Parents do their best to prepare their children for the future, but often some subjects fall short, particularly personal finance. Some of these necessary lessons are taught in school, but others are not. Unfortunately, this leaves many young adults at a loss when they are finally managing their own finances. Starting financial literacy education for young people is essential. Credit unions should do their part in educating, and as a result they can increase membership and growth.

Young literacy programs
Kirtland Federal Credit Union experienced a 200 percent increase in membership after five years of focusing on youth financial literacy. Judy Ruiz, the credit union's vice president of marketing and public relations, said that within a year of revamping their youth saving program, the number of minor accounts tripled. 

"The old program was based on having a certain amount of money in a savings account, and I thought that was hard for families that don't have a lot of money, Judy Ruiz said to Albuquerque Business First. "I wanted to reward kids for being frequent savers and making regular deposits." 

Taking young financial literacy initiatives could increase credit union growth.Taking young financial literacy initiatives could increase credit union growth.

The program contained a few different features. For instance, children and teens earned a stamp for every $15 they deposited in their savings account and every 10 stamps earned rewards like movie tickets or a gift card. Ruiz believes that this goal of delayed gratification helped the kids make smarter choices with their money. In addition, the program also continued sparking the interest of a younger demographic through online financial literacy games, newsletters and seminars. The credit union even holds a free public event called the Annual Youth Money Extravaganza, a free public event that covers a plethora of relevant subjects like student loans to calculating interest. 

Taking initiative
Credit unions looking to increase their growth should reach out to attract the youth of America. That way, kids will not be at a disadvantage when they are adults and living on their own. Teaching them the right ways to manage their personal finances will prepare them for their future and allow them to gain both confidence and independence. In addition, credit unions could also reap the benefits down the road because they will be establishing a relationship with young kids who will eventually be young adults looking for more financial opportunities.