Penn. CU Draws Crowd To Its 'Wealth Fest' Meeting

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More than 140 people turned out here for a personal finance conference sponsored by Citadel Federal Credit Union.

Called WealthFest 2002, the half-day conference was designed to educate members and community residents about such things as retirement, investments, taxes, insurance and estate planning.

"Judging by the feedback we received, this conference was a great success,'" said Citadel President and CEO Jeff March. "We were very happy that this was a valuable learning experience for our members and the community members who attended.'"

Local industry experts representing fields that included accounting, real estate and attorneys from such companies as Citadel, Oppenheimer Funds, Putnam Investments and CNA Insurance led the hour-long sessions. Cost to attend any three of nine sessions offered was $10 per member and $13 per non-member.

"I was shocked by the turnout," said Tim Irwin, personal relationship manager of Citadel. "You know, we've tried seminars before and we got only a handful of people."

He said most who participated were either in their 30s or 60s-"People who are starting families and people who are entering retirement."

Irwin joked that while offering breakfast may have had something to do with the success, it's more likely the downbeat financial climate since the event of Sept. 11 and a slumping stock market was the bigger lure.

"The only negative comment I got was from someone who said he was upset because he could only attend three of the nine sessions," Irwin said. He said chances are good that WealthFest will be repeated.

"This was something I feel gave us a presence in the community that we didn't have before," Irwin said, explaining that it further defined credit unions as education financial specialists that truly care about their members and the community.

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