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Missouri Ahead of Nationwide Focus on Financial Literacy

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission is calling to make financial literacy a nationwide focus. Leaders from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 19 other federal agencies make up the commission, which met in late October. The primary focus of the meeting was to address the financial costs of college education and how to help families better prepare for it.

Credit unions in Missouri are already focused on financial education across the state. The Missouri Credit Union Association just awarded six  credit unions with the Desjardins Financial Education Youth Award, and five credit unions with the Desjardins Financial Education Adult Award. The Desjardins awards recognize model credit union efforts to teach personal finance concepts and skills to members and nonmembers. The youth category covers participants under age 18. The adult category encompasses participants age 18 and older.

Missouri's credit unions provide free financial education to a spectrum of groups in their communities. During the school year, credit unions in Missouri conducted 709 classroom presentations that reached 13,585 students.  For adult outreach, credit unions routinely hold free seminars on topics like Understanding & Improving Your Credit Score, How to Pay for Higher Education, Financial Preparedness, College Cost Planning, Financial Management for Students and Homebuyer's Workshop just to name a few.

During the Commission meeting, Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussed a proposed college rating system that would focus on outcomes at universities, including job placement and loan repayment assistance. This ratings system is intended to measure schools according to the value they provide so students and families can make the most of their money. The specifics of the system have not been ironed out yet, and Duncan said the Education Department “will do a lot of listening over the next few months.”

Caption 1: Greg Newsom, United Credit Union (UCU) branch manger, and Heather DeMint, vice president of Marketing for UCU, help students at a recent reality fair in Kingdom City. 

Caption 2: Jenny Remes, Marketing coordinator for Arsenal Credit Union, also serves as the director of financial education and spends hours teaching in area schools.