The Pulse 11-10-16

Volume 5, Issue 45.5



Five Minn. credit unions receive national recognition for community involvement, financial education efforts 

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently announced that five Minnesota credit unions received national recognition in 2016 through the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards and Desjardins Financial Education Awards programs. These awards recognize credit union excellence in community service and financial literacy initiatives.


Award entries from SPIRE Credit Union ( Falcon Heights), North Star Credit Union (Cook), Ideal Credit Union (Woodbury), United Educators Credit Union (Apple Valley), and Firefly Credit Union (Burnsville) received recognition for placing in the national awards program.


“Across the state, Minnesota’s credit unions are developing programs to support and improve their communities,” said Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark Cummins. “I am proud to see these credit unions recognized for their efforts.”


A summary of the award-winning entries follows:


Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award

The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award was created in 1987 and recognizes credit unions for the activities they coordinate that benefit the community or a specific charity. This award promotes social responsibility among credit unions by formally recognizing their achievements outside the credit union.


  • SPIRE Credit Union: second place, $250 million - $1 billion in assets category - The purpose of the SPIRE Give Back Team is to improve the overall well-being of communities served through community outreach activities and donations. Their mission is carried out by providing support to people who may not otherwise have access to such support. The team's goal is not to be the primary source of financial or other support for these organizations, but to rather fill the gap in support provided by other sources. The Give Back Team’s reach also has an educational role, raising awareness within our communities and encouraging others to support these organizations. 


Desjardins Financial Education Award

The Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards formally recognize the leadership of individual credit unions in their efforts to educate youth and adults in financial literacy.


  • Firefly Credit Union: first place, adult education, more than $1 billion in assets category - The Firefly Learn at Work initiative was created in 2001 to bring financial education to the work place for the convenience of the typical everyday working adult. In 2015, the program received a comprehensive overhaul to address changing demographic and current day personal finance issues. Firefly partners with dozens of employer groups through the Learn at Work program including progressive companies like Shutterfly and Mall of America.


  • Ideal Credit Union: honorable mention, youth education, $250 million - $1 billion in assets category - The “Money Talks” educational series, developed in partnership with Tartan student and school leaders, is held several times throughout the school year. The peer-to-peer program, led by Ideal CU Student Credit Union employees, is designed to teach students the building blocks of personal finance. The overall objective is to provide valuable financial education to students via their peers so they have the knowledge to make informed and conscious money decisions through all stages of life - from youth through retirement. The series increases awareness of the student-credit union and credit unions in general, and provides the tools, assistance and education to help students build a strong financial future.


  • United Educators Credit Union: honorable mention, adult education, $50 - 250 million in assets category - UECU uncovered the great need for financial literacy in two vulnerable segments of the population - senior citizens and young adults with disabilities. To this effort, they collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Lutheran Social Services to hold an elder abuse seminar for our retired members. They also partnered with Minnesota Life College to bring a host of financial literacy topics to their post high school students aged 18 through 22 who are learning independent living skills.


  • North Star Credit Union: second place, youth education, Less than $50 million in assets category - Indian Education at North Woods School in Cook, Minn., asked the students in North Star Credit Union’s Bunch of Students Saving (B.O.S.S.) program to speak with students in Academic Journey about financial topics such as money management and saving. North Star Credit Union’s education coordinator worked with the B.O.S.S. students to develop a presentation that aligned with their mission and would best benefit students.


Award-winning entries will be on display at CUNA’s 2016 Governmental Affairs Conference, February 26 through March 2, in Washington, D.C., and award winners will be honored during a CUNA Awards Recognition Reception on Wednesday, March 1.



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 Communications Specialist Laura Whittet.




Crew Ambassador & Advisory Group applications now open

The Crew is a group for young professionals – under 40 years old - working in the credit union movement in Minnesota. The Minnesota Credit Union Network hosts special sessions for Crew members at major MnCUN events as well as standalone Crew education sessions, happy hours, and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The Minnesota Credit Union Network is looking for the next Crew Ambassador and seeking members for the Crew Advisory Group.


  • The Crew Ambassador serves as a leader for his or her peers in the Crew. This person helps represent The Crew and other young credit union professionals in Minnesota at MnCUN events and other professional development opportunities. The Crew Ambassador must be able to commit to attending Crew events and MnCUN major events throughout the year, have a letter of recommendation from their Manager/CEO, and be interested in leading the Crew Advisory Group. Apply Online.

  • The Crew Advisory Group includes up to 15 Crew members who meet quarterly at the MnCUN office to help plan and promote Crew events. Applicants must be able to commit to attend hour-long meetings on a quarterly basis, have a letter of recommendation from their Manager/CEO, and be interested in improving the Crew. Apply Online. 

The 2017 MnCUN Crew Ambassador application and the Crew Advisory Group Application are open now through Thursday, December 22.  Applications for the Crew Ambassador position you will automatically be considered for the Crew Advisory Group unless otherwise noted in the application.


With questions, contact MnCUN Crew Liaison Laura Whittet by email or by phone at (651)288-5503.



Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, University of Minn. Extension host BizKid$ training webinar

The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF) has collaborated with the University of Minnesota Extension to develop a statewide Biz Kid$ Train the Trainer workshop. Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative that includes an award-winning TV series, free financial literacy curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a social media presence targeting children nine to 16 years old. Its focus is to help kids make and manage money. The program is supported by a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).


On Friday, October 28, MnCUF held the first Train the Trainer webinar. The recorded webinar and presentation is available online.


BizKid$ Producer, Jamie Hammond, as well as Danielle Brown, Development & Donor Relations Director with the National Credit Union Foundation and BizKid$ Coordinator, participated in the webinar, providing background on BizKid$, and commentary on episodes and on the accompanying curriculum.


Extension educators who participated in the webinar will receive a BizKid$ starter kit, and commit to identifying partners within their community that are focused on youth financial education to present Biz Kid$ to the organization’s front-line staff, and to youth audiences from different demographic backgrounds across the state of Minnesota.


Credit unions interested in partnering with U of M Ext. coordinators in these efforts should contact Executive Director, Lyndsay Miller.



CFPB releases its 2016 Financial Literacy Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its 2016 Financial Literacy Report. The report describes the CFPB’s initiatives assisting consumers in navigating the marketplace and building financial well-being. The report also contains a consolidated reference list of the CFPB’s financial literacy tools, publications and reports.


Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034