By Gina Ragusa Published April 18, 2011 Credit Unions Online
Credit unions are rocking financial literacy during Youth Week, April 17 through 23, 2011. The credit union movement has always been pro-youth--offering a smattering of age-appropriate accounts tied to strategic money saving games and Youth Week further demonstrates its resolve.
Every year credit unions across the country celebrate its youngest members during April. CUNA provides a theme and credit unions pepper it with local flavor.
This year’s, “Money Rocks at My Credit Union” promotes the tenants of teaching kids how to save and spend wisely, while at the same time demonstrating that saving money can 'rock.'”
For example, Genisys Credit Union (Michigan) is giving away a karaoke machine for Moola Moola account youth savers. Although the April youth campaign typically produces an account spike, VP/PR Lon Bone says that the credit union’s overall youth financial literacy program is extremely strong year round.
“We have over 15,000 youth accounts which is comprised of Moola Moola, birth to age seven; Young Investors, from age eight to 12 and Teen Advantage from age 13 to 17.”
Bone explains that each program is designed to engage children in the money saving and investing process. “We also get parents involved with our Family Mint program, which is a computer based program that involves the entire family in budgeting and saving.”
During Youth Week (which runs throughout the month for many credit unions), kids are being treated to Rock Star Silly Bandz and coloring pages. The karaoke machine drawing will be held at the end of April.
While Genisys is giving away a karaoke machine, Purdue Federal Credit Union (Indiana) is handing out bikes. Marketing Manager Kristy Robb says that during April, Existing Savers and Sense Youth Club members will be entered into a random drawing to win a bike and helmet every time they deposit at least $5 in their account.
“Each of our seven branches has its own drawing with bikes and balloons parked in the lobby,” Robb explains. “We’ve received a lot of traffic and find that the bikes have become great conversation starters.”
Robb says that, like Genisys, Purdue Federal Credit Union takes it youth clubs seriously. “We understand the importance of financial education and to start teaching kids about smart money saving habits early.”
In fact Purdue has two well-trafficked high school branches and is holding a Visa debit card design contest during April for teens.
“Every year we ramp up our youth accounts and try to add new ways to make them interesting and bring more kids on board,” Robb says. “Campaigns such as Youth Week work. In fact we had people waiting outside one of our branches before we opened because they had heard about our bike giveaway.”