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  1. // League Highlights

    Association of Vermont Credit Unions – Certified Financial Counselor Training

    Association of Vermont Credit Unions

    This article is the seventh installment in a monthly series of interviews designed to provide REAL Solutions® League Liaisons and other league staff up-to-date strategies used by their peers to grow their REAL Solutions® efforts. This interview describes the efforts of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) to implement a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor Training Program for credit union employees. Please learn more from this interview with John Cote, Director of Information Services – Association of Vermont Credit Unions.

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  2. // Loans & Credit

    Four More Free Webinars – Steer Clear of Predatory Car Loans

    Vehicle lending is credit unions “bread and butter”. Yet many credit unions have not discovered that serving borrowers with poor or thin file credit scores can be a great business opportunity. Credit unions that have balanced risk with pricing have successfully reached hundreds of low-wealth consumers while building reserves for the institution.

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  3. // League Highlights

    NCUF supports 23 League Projects

    The National Credit Union Foundation and the REAL Solutions Program is pleased to announce that 23 partnering leagues will receive over $230,000 in project grant funds from REAL Solutions in 2010. (read more)

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  4. // Credit Unions

    How to Provide Tax Preparation Assistance through VITA Programs – 3 Free Webinars

    VITA, or Voluntary Tax Assistance Programs, is an IRS program that offers free tax help to those who qualify and help them take advantage of special tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. In a series of three webinars, Real Solutions will demonstrate how credit unions can provide this service to their community and gain meaningful new relationships with members.

    Research by the Government Accountability Office and Internal Revenue Service indicates that between 15% and 25% of households who are entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit do not claim their credit, or between 3.5 million and 7 million households. The average EITC amount received per family in 2002 was $1,766. Using this figure and a 15% unclaimed rate would mean that low-wage workers and their families lost out on more than $6.5 billion, or more than $12 billion if the unclaimed rate is 25%.

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  5. // From Good to Growth

    From Good to Growth – What Are You Waiting For?

    Over the next few months, we’ll talk about growth strategies for reaching…(read more)

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  6. // Youth & Young Adults

    Four Free Webinars: Social Media – Landscape, Strategy, Tools, and Production

    It’s time to be real about social media. Throwing up a Facebook page, jumping into a blog, or blasting updates via Twitter because you heard you’re supposed to will exhaust you and annoy your members. To do it well (or decide if you should do it at all), you need to understanding, strategy, and the right tools to implement…(read more)

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  7. // Community Development

    Declare Your Low-Income Designation or CDFI Certification

    Do you know any REAL Solutions credit unions that have delayed confirming their eligibility for NCUA low-income designation or CFDI certification?

    Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner announced the Community Development Capital Initiative (CDCI), and our expectation is that it will make hundreds of millions of dollars available to qualifying credit unions…(read more)

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  8. // Growth Strategy

    Empathy, Viability, and Sustainability

    Almost every day I’ve seen a new press release, TV spot or blog post on why consumers should (and are) making the switch to credit unions.

    It’s both a huge opportunity and responsibility for credit unions, but one thing it’s not: warm fuzzy altruism. It’s important to understand that implementing new products that help low-wealth members is a growth strategy. To succeed in this area, product and service development has to focus on empathy and service coupled with viability and sustainability...(read more)

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  9. // Youth & Young Adults

    41% of American Children Live in Poverty

    Credit unions care about kids. We support all kinds of children’s charities, provide financial educational opportunities, support little league, athletic and after school programs. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty fourteen million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four…(read more)

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  10. // Emerging Markets

    60 million Americans are Underbanked

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking to a representative from the FDIC who sought our advice on how financial instutions can provide access to affordable transaction products. I was able to give her a host of credit union examples as well as share our product toolkits with her. In talking with her I found that FDIC has just completed a “National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households”... (continue reading)

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  11. // Emerging Markets

    HarborOne MultiCultural Banking Center is one of a kind!

    In my work I get to see the very best of what credit unions do to serve their members…and sometimes I find something extraordinary to learn about and to share to our REAL Solutions readers. One such place is Harbor One Credit Union’s Multi-Cultural Banking Center.

    I, along with our field coaches and league liaisons, had the opportunity to visit the center and to see first hand credit union philosophy – I mean business philosophy working. This sustainable banking operation builds solid partnerships to bring the best of financial and social services to unbanked working immigrants.

    At the same time the financial services are affordable but are sustainable building reserves for other members. For this reason, I asked Field Coach Mark Meyers to delve into what it takes to build this operation so that other credit unions can determine if they too can offer immigrants sterling service….

    Jim Blake President/CEO was clear this was a business decision for them – a good one as the credit union has seen double digit growth in both membership and assets in recent months. This is a must-read.

    Click here to download the HarborOne Business Strategy Highlight.

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  12. // REAL Member Stories

    And the 2009 REAL Member Stories Contest Winner is…

    For the final vote in this contest, we had:

    5 videos from
    5 credit unions from
    4 leagues that received
    2,190 votes
    and when the poll cut off at 11:59pm on Friday night, you had chosen…

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  13. // REAL Member Stories

    Pushing the Announcement Back by One Day

    Because of a very interesting end result (good interesting!) we’re pushing back the announcement of the video contest winner by one day. We apologize very much for all of you waiting, but we can’t wait to tell the story.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow!

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  14. // League Highlights

    The Credit Union League of Connecticut – Youth Financial Education: The Connecticut Story

    This article is the sixth installment in a monthly series of interviews designed to provide REAL Solutions® League Liaisons and other league staff up-to-date strategies used by their peers to grow their REAL Solutions® efforts. This interview describes the efforts of the Credit Union League of Connecticut (CULCT)and the Connecticut Credit Union Solutions Foundation to develop and implement a Financial Reality Fair experience for high school students. Please learn more from this interview with Barbara Bass, CULCT’s Vice President—Education and Human Resource Development.

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  15. // REAL Member Stories

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