Maryland CU Reorganizes Its Efforts, Forms An Education Department

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Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union has created a new in-house Education Department dedicated solely to teaching its new community-based FOM about finances.

APGFCU had already been providing financial literacy education through other departments, but the $507-million credit union has now dedicated one full-time and two part-time employees to strengthening current alliances and creating new alliances within its two county FOM to provide youth and adult literacy courses.

"APGFCU has long been a leader in the area of financial literacy and education for our members,'' said President and CEO Don Lewis. "We have delivered that message through out Youth Education Services team that this year along made 170 presentations to over 5,000 children.''

Lewis said he is eager to see the new Education Department continue those efforts and expand its reach to adults, neighborhood organizations and civic groups.

Tina Ripken, who will head the department, said she already has curriculum in place for pre-k through college courses and is reviewing programs for adults that complement the already established community seminars held in branches, community centers and within schools.

"The objective of the Education Department will be to make APGFCU the leading community resource for financial literacy education and to deliver the best in money management education at every possible opportunity.''

While she knows that most of the department's efforts will be intangible, the CU does plan to initially track the number of deposits and loans as it has done in the past with youth programs.

"We already have demonstrated statistics on the youth side that show that education increases memberships, deposit base and loan base,'' Ripken said, adding that she is excited to be at the helm of APGFCU's new niche within the credit union movement. Ripken said research for the position gave her the impression that while many other CUs dedicate staff to financial literacy programs, APGFCU is the first to create its own department dedicated solely for that purpose.

APGFCU is the largest CU in Harford County and the fourth largest federally chartered CU in Maryland.

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