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    Mississippi CUs Making Strides with Financial Counseling Program

    Prior to the first REAL Solutions enhanced version of the Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) to certify credit union financial counselors, there was only one certified financial counselor in credit unions in Mississippi. Eighteen months and two programs later, there are now 59 certified credit union financial counselors in 17 credit unions in Mississippi.

    This is a unique partnership between the National Credit Union Foundation/REAL Solutions, Credit Union National Association’s Center for Professional Development (CUNA CPD), the Mississippi Credit Union Association (MSCUA), and Mississippi credit unions to train staff who are then able to give professional financial counseling and education to members and potential members throughout the state. MSCUA has marketed the program to credit unions and has proctored all student exams. Tom McWilliams, MSCUA Senior Vice President, has led the charge to recruit students and to make the proctored testing as easy for students as possible.

    “Tom McWilliams has done an extraordinary job coordinating this program with the FiCEP partners & students, and in doing so made Mississippi’s success a model for other states,” said Charles Elliott, MSCUA President/CEO. “Our graduates have emerged from the program with renewed enthusiasm, and new-found knowledge and skills to implement in their own credit unions. Our high FiCEP participation and graduation rates are an inspiration and a testimony to the commitment Mississippi credit unions share to be a partner in their member’s financial future and success.”

    Students used the CUNA CPD’s FiCEP to study for their Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor certification. CUNA staff graded all tests and issued students with their certificates. Mark Lynch, REAL Solutions Field Coach, conducted 8 tutorial webinars and two face-to-face training days during each of Mississippi’s two programs.

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