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CU Excel

Credit Union :Rogue
Assets :$450,000,000
Address :1370 Center Drive | Medford, OR 97501

Rates, Fees, and Terms :

Student Qualifications :

  • Between the ages of 15 to 18 and living within CU field of membership
  • $5 account opening fee
  • One week prior to the first financial class, students must have an open savings account, a checking account with debit card, Visa credit card or Line of Credit, and electronic services

Program Details

Students that wish to attend the CU Excel financial seminar must open an account with Rogue and obtain the required services so that the students can use their products and services as an interactive part of the classes. All classes are free and are provided in a one day seminar from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, generally at one of the credit union branches. Students must complete all sessions to retain their Visa credit card.

Classes include:
  • Checking Account Basics – students learn how to write a check, keep a register, balance the check book, and the costs of “bouncing” a check
  • Electronic Services – students learn how to use their Rogue teen electronic products, including an ATM, Visa and debit cards; they learn about identity theft, credit card fraud and how to protect themselves using Internet banking
  • Budgeting – Students learn to set goals, the real costs of living, and financial concepts such as net income and fixed and flexible spending; they develop a monthly budget and spending plan, learn how to economize, earn extra income, and the importance of saving
  • Understanding Credit and Credit Reports – Students learn the costs of using credit, types of credit, terms and fees, about predatory lending and the credit card trap; they learn about credit reporting agencies, credit reports, credit scores, and the importance of maintaining good credit
  • Food, fun and prizes!

Vendors/Systems Used :

All materials were developed in-house under a Rogue FCU copyright.

Marketing Strategy :

  • Website
  • Word-of-mouth works particularly well; students tells other students and their parents about the program
  • Plasma screens in the CU
  • Media and articles printed in local papers have picked up on the CU’s youth programs and financial education outreach

Program Results/Statistics :

  • As of March 2010, there were 2,500 CU Excel accounts
  • Approximately 45-55 new accounts are being opened each month
  • Up to 60 teens often attend the seminars which are offered every other month or at least once a quarter
  • Average savings balance is $550
  • Average checking balance is $285
  • Average money market is $8,490
  • Average CD balance is $2,500
  • Students are using 11 different loan products for such loans as new and used cars, personal loans, school expenses and computers
  • One loan charged off from 2004 to 2008

Member Benefits :

  • Students learn how to use and manage their accounts
  • They become active members using several services
  • They interact with one another during the seminars and learn from each other
  • Students have access to the cell phone number of the class instructor so they can call with any problems they may be having with products and services
  • Upon age 19, the young adult is moved into the next program – CU Prosper

Additional Information :

Kerrie Davis, Community & Education Outreach Coordinator, is passionate about teaching teens and young adults how to become financially literate. Her enthusiasm radiates as she talks about her kids and their successes. “I know the seminars are beneficial to the students because of their evaluations of the classes,” says Davis. “Following the seminars, the students become some of our best promoters.”

Davis has no trouble filling up her classes because she makes learning fun. “Can you imagine teens willing to give up their Saturday to sit in a class all day learning about financial management,” she asks? Davis discusses how the teens are split into groups at one point in the class to re-work a budget based on a scenario. “When it comes to the allowance and pets,” she notes, “all bets are off! There is lively discussion between team members about what to do. It is a fun exercise that gets them thinking about ways they can land on their feet if something happened to affect their income.” Students learn about decisions and choices. Their perceptions of what they actually need are challenged. Davis recalls, “One girl was certain Mascara was a need until she went through the class activity. Now she knows it is really a want!”

Davis gives her students her cell phone number and encourages them to call at anytime if they experience a problem using a product or service. She notes that this gives the teens a direct link to her, even on weekends. “Parents like this,” says Davis. “I had a young lady that was in my class in 2006 call me last weekend because she had a problem with her Visa card. She was at college and was getting ready to leave for spring break. I was able to help her through it and she was thankful for a direct line to speak with someone. She loves her credit union! We are very proactive in resolving issues.”

Davis has made connections with area high schools and has delivered her seminars in one high school, including information about Rogue’s products and services. “I’ve been able to establish trust in the material I present,” says Davis. Students can enroll in the credit union and the membership share is paid through a grant that the school received. In addition to the CU Excel program for high schoolers, Rogue offers a CU Achieve program for middle school students and a CU Prosper program for young adults between 19 and 24 years of age. The credit union has about 1,100 students in its CU Achieve program with an average share balance of $452. Approximately 2,700 young adults are part of the CU Prosper program. Rogue offers free financial seminars for all of the programs and attendance is required.

Davis also helped co-create the Money Mammals Saving Money is Fun Kids Club with John Lanza, CEO of Snigglezoo Entertainment. The program is not just a youth savings program, notes Davis. “It teaches our youngest members about credit union philosophy, financial education and giving back through its website and newsletters.” The games are interactive. A recent addition is Joe’s Credit Union Game. “This game teaches youth about products and services and about member service in a fun and entertaining way,” says Davis. There is also a curriculum, she notes, that offers teachers, volunteers and parents six lessons that partner with the Money Mammals DVD. Soon it will launch a kid’s book that will teach a child about saving for a goal and making choices. “We need to start with our youngest members, teaching them basic financial literacy concepts and the credit union difference,” states Davis.

Each age group is transitioned into the next group. “The young members receive a letter about the next level and they are excited about it,” notes Davis. “These programs support and encourage retention and loyalty with our membership. Parents love the programs and we have seen our membership grow and our average member age decline.” Davis believes Rogue’s programs are successful for the following reasons:

  • Involvement in school-based and youth organizations; the youth and teachers become familiar with the CU
  • The seminars teach youth what happens when they don’t manage their money the right way
  • The CU has committed a person – Davis – to be in the community doing educational outreach and who responds to every request
  • A measurement system that tracks the effectiveness of outreach efforts

“You need to know if your outreach is effective,” concludes Davis. “You need to know how many new members are a result of these efforts, deposit and loan information for the youth and what the entire household relationship looks like. This will give you key information as to whether changes are necessary or if you have cause to smile!”