Inflation rates, gas prices, homes – everything is going up. And that puts more stress on your credit union members. It’s especially difficult for your members that fall near or below the poverty line.
And while no amount of financial education can fix unprecedented circumstances of life, your credit union is one of the only places that can offer people the financial education and money management resources they need when they need them.
Since the holidays are approaching, we thought now would be a great time to offer some tips to help your CU offer resources that can make a difference.
Your Members Are Facing Tough Times
Your members are carrying heavy financial burdens that they take on very early in life. 45 million Americans hold federal student loan debt, and after the events of 2020, financial security as a whole has felt much less attainable for so many of your credit union members.
Because of this and other factors we mentioned above, it’s clear that now is the right time to make sure you are offering quality financial education options and money management resources to your member base. Here are some of the best ways to do that.
Know Your Audience
In general, American adults have a poor understanding of how their finances work. As a credit union, it’s your job to foster relationships with your members to build trust and share helpful knowledge about banking best practices.
The first step in that journey is to know your audience. Use the data from your members and take a look at how they’re using their money. Is it personal loans? Mortgages? Whatever the case, your members are looking to you to offer solutions and education.
To get to know your audience, you can run surveys online or get feedback in person. Ask your members what topics confuse them the most. A class on investing in stocks is a great resource, but only if your member base is financially stable enough o do that kind of investing. Most often, it’s the day-to-day and future planning items that people want to know about: they want to know how to pay their bills and still save money, and they want to know how much money they need to retire comfortably.
In lower-income areas, some of these resources for financial education and money management may include classes on how to apply for government-sponsored housing and food assistance. Knowing your audience is a crucial step in planning an effective financial literacy program at your credit union.
Lean on What’s Out There
You don’t have time to reinvent the wheel – if you are hoping to offer basic money management classes at your credit union, do some research first. Check out the experts in the field – do they have free resources? Can you host or purchase these resources or classes and offer them to your members? Are these experts available to host in-person or virtual interactive classes?
There’s no need for you or your employees to spend time trying to create a money management class or helpful guides from scratch – there are thousands of templates and resources from top universities that you can include in your list of resources on your website.
Divide these resources into tiers – your website visitors can choose from the list based on their expertise level.
You can also create resources based on some Google search data. For example, when the interest rates on mortgages started going up, there was an uptick in searches for mortgage calculators and other resources that explained how to determine how much a low- or middle-class member should be spending on a new home.
There were also more searches for comparison data between renting and owning homes in many areas. Your credit union can also partner with other service providers to help create a more transparent and educational experience for those looking to increase their money management knowledge to make big financial moves in the future.
IMS Integration – Digital Solutions That Make a Difference for Your Members
A huge part of the struggle to close financial education gaps comes from a lack of accessibility. And at IMSI Integration, we believe that banking services should always be more accessible, not less. That’s why we offer tailored software and technology that can reach your members and help them reach their financial goals through your credit union’s services.