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|The Pulse (03-12-14)|
The Pulse (03-12-14)
March 12, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 10
Credit Union News
Over the past year, the Minnesota Credit Union Network has been working to advance its public affairs initiatives and build on consumers' awareness of credit unions. To streamline and refine news sharing capabilities, the Network has created a new webpage devoted to the Minnesota credit union news.
When stories are submitted to MnCUN – either via press release or through a brief synopsis provided in an online form – they become part of the Network’s "cycle of news.”
Beginning in 2014, MnCUN will also send a weekly news digest to media outlets around the state. Send us your press releases or use the share your story button on the Network website. Contact Network Communications Director Connie Kuhn with any questions.
Educational benefits of student-run credit unions highlighted at conference for MN social studies educators
In recent years, student-run credit unions have begun emerging in schools throughout Minnesota. Beginning with Owatonna High School in February of 2011, five in-school branches have opened thanks to the efforts of HomeTown Credit Union, St. Paul Federal Credit Union, Postal Credit Union, and Cook Area Credit Union.
In May of 2013, a revision of the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies was released, which includes new educational requirements for personal finance.
Understanding the many partnerships that exist between credit unions and schools, and recognizing the opportunities that exist for credit unions to help teachers comply with the new education standards, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation spoke at the Great Lakes Social Studies Conference on March 3. Hosted by the Minnesota Council on Social Studies, the conference is a professional development opportunity for Minnesota social studies teachers of all grade levels.
Kristina Wright, Executive Director of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, presented a breakout session on the “Educational Benefits of Student-Run Credit Unions.” The session provided an introductory overview to student-run credit unions and included a variety of resources and information on operational models, considerations and benefits of these partnerships.
Richard M. Todd, Vice President – Community Development Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, also provided background information on the history of in-school savings programs.
“Minnesota credit unions large and small have a commitment to financial education, and no two credit unions’ efforts are exactly alike,” Wright said, encouraging school partnerships that start small – such as a guest speaking opportunity or other events or exchanges. “The dedication by our credit unions that have established these first five in-school branches is spectacular, and it’s a concept that I hope to see more of in the coming years.”
The Foundation’s Social Studies Conference presentation also included perspectives from two educators who have been instrumental in the formation of their schools’ student run credit unions, Scott Pierce of Owatonna High School and Craig Spreiter of Tartan High School. Each provided videos that highlighted their perspectives and experiences, and discussed why they chose to open a student-run branch.
“We felt that it would be a great tool to help students learn about financial literacy, and we could also incorporate it into classes,” Pierce said, noting how elements of the credit union branch have permeated personal finance and marketing classes, as well as DECA Club projects and research. “The students that work at the credit union gain great experience, and the other students benefit as well through peer education and in dealing with other students.”
Pierce said that the HomeTown Credit Union branch at Owatonna High School already has more transactions and traffic than he thought it would at this point, which just passed the three-year mark. He speculated that students feel more comfortable interacting with their peers, and that it may not be as intimidating for them to ask questions.
Marc Buchmeyer, student worker at Tartan High School’s branch of Postal Credit Union, agreed with the value of peer interaction and financial education.
“My experience [working with Postal Credit Union] has been a great one,” Buchmeyer said. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities presented to me, especially through the student branch working with my peers and coworkers, to learn for myself more about the financial world as well as teach my peers.”
The Foundation continues to encourage credit unions to expand their efforts to provide personal finance education to students. According to the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies, the new requirements include fundamental concepts of economics and personal finance, such as:
The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation website has resources available for credit unions. Credit unions interested in learning more about Student Run Credit Unions can follow this link for a handbook and informational webinar. Information on the Minnesota Social Studies Standards page includes an overview of the May 2013 standards and links to the Department of Education.
With questions, contact Foundation Executive Director Kristina Wright by email or at (651) 288-5507.
The road to financial literacy just got a bit shorter for students at Harding Senior High School with the March 4 opening of St. Paul Federal Credit Union’s student-run branch in the school’s cafeteria.
St. Paul Federal has partnered with Saint Paul Public Schools on financial education for more than five years. Construction of the Harding branch was made possible with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, and the new Harding location is the second student-run branch the credit union has opened. The first branch opened at Como Park Senior High School in 2012.
“Credit unions believe in teaching youth financial literacy skills,” said St. Paul Federal Vice President of Lending & Operations Mitch Myre. “Having a branch here at the school provides an opportunity for students to talk about money with other students in their own terms.”
The in-school credit union is an extension of the school’s work-based learning program. Three Harding high school students will work as tellers at the in-school branch. The students will perform all of the functions that a full-time credit union teller would, and the student-run branch will offer a range of services, including check cashing, deposits, loan applications and financial assistance.
“Opening this branch continues our philosophy of people helping people,” said St. Paul Federal President/CEO Theresa Malone. “By providing this opportunity for the Harding community, we’re putting financial knowledge in the hands of our future leaders.”
The student employees will be managed by Trevor Malone, St. Paul Federal’s School Branch & Education Supervisor. St. Paul Federal staff will also provide additional educational resources by assisting with classroom discussions on topics such as the importance of credit, how to save money and other personal finance topics.
Also speaking at the grand opening were:
“As community-focused organizations, credit unions continually work to improve their members’ personal financial knowledge,” said Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark D. Cummins. “Partnering with our schools to educate young Minnesotans on the money management skills they’ll need in the years ahead helps provide a stronger financial future for all of us.”
The concept of in-school, student-run credit unions as teaching tools continues to build momentum in Minnesota, and more branch openings are expected in the months ahead.
Two longtime Minnesota credit union presidents – Harry Carter and Jeff Schwalen – were inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders in Washington, D.C., last week in recognition of their dedication to upholding the credit union mission. This honor is given to those whose commitment has made a significant impact on the credit union movement at the local, state and national levels. Carter and Schwalen are both influential and respected forces in the industry.
"Harry and Jeff have done so much for their individual credit unions and the credit union movement, and they have been instrumental in the Minnesota Credit Union Network's success," said Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN President & CEO.
Carter retired from TopLine Federal Credit Union at the end of 2013 after 14 years as President & CEO, and with 22 years of service to the credit union industry. During Carter’s tenure at TopLine, the credit union experienced a period of growth and expansion in the areas of membership, market share and product offerings – nearly doubling
in size from $175 million in 1999 to over $340 million in 2013. Carter also served as Chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Network Board of Directors and was actively involved with numerous committees, including MnCUN’s Political Action Committee.
Schwalen served as Hiway Federal Credit Union’s President & CEO for ten years before retiring in October 2013. During his tenure, the credit union experienced a steady rise in membership, assets grew by $350 million, and Hiway developed a reputation for offering innovative products and services to its members. He also served as a
Schwalen accepted his Hall of Leaders award at a ceremony during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Governmental Affairs Conference. In his remarks, he expressed great appreciation for the honor and thanked his fellow credit union peers.n officer and member of the MnCUN Board of Directors and as an active member and past chairman of MnCUN’s Political Involvement Committee. In addition, Schwalen has been a longtime proponent of Credit Unions for Kids, serving on Minnesota’s steering committee and leading Hiway to becoming a fundraising force for Children’s Miracle Network and the local Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
"I think the most important thing is to be involved -- to be there for the members and to help them in any way that we Developed in 2008, the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders recognizes credit union professionals and volunteers whose commitment to service has inspired others in the credit union movement. The names of honorees are prominently displayed in Credit Union House to remind visitors of those who have volunteered their time to perpetuate the credit union movement and who remain committed to the values and mission on which credit unions were founded.can," Schwalen said in his acceptance speech at the induction ceremony. "It is an honor to have my name included among so many others at Credit Union House."
This month the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal will begin accepting nominations online for their 2014 annual Diversity in Business publication, out in July 2014. The awards recognize 20 local business owners and executives who represent the ethnic minority, GLBT, disabled and veteran communities. The honorees were selected through a highly competitive nomination process based on the contributions they've made to their companies, industries and communities.
If you would like to receive an e-mail notification when the award nomination process is ready to begin, please visit the Business Journal's 2014 Diversity in Business email alert nominations page on their website and fill out the short form. Please contact Managing Editor Mark Reilly by email or at (612) 288-2110 for more information.
Credit Unions in the News
Follow the links on the stories below to read more about the outstanding programs, new initiatives and well-deserved recognition received by your peers recently. Got news of your own? Send stories, pitches, press releases and published articles to MnCUN Director of Communications Connie Kuhn.
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