PULSE Proceeds To Underwrite Financial Ed Plan

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The $2-billion Randolph-Brooks FCU, originally created to serve United States Air Force members of the similarly named base, will intensify its financial education programs for military as well for children and teenagers that go to schools in the areas it serves.

"In the past the credit union had an ongoing financial education effort with CU employees going to school districts and providing education when requested" on a voluntary basis, said Wanda Busscher, who has experience as managing director for a retirement home for Air Force officers and is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the USAF.

Busscher, who served in the Air Force for more than two decades, wants to put in place a system that will reach schools in areas including San Antonio and Austin in a more systematic way. It will also provide financial education classes to air force members, she said.

"Initially I am going to do a pilot program with a few of the school districts in San Antonio and once that is developed and I get a good feel on what does or doesn't work, I'll probably involve the branches in helping to reach more schools," Busscher said.

Basic Money Management Taught

The efforts to teach finance to school children will involve classes on subjects such as checking accounts to children as young as 11 or 12, who will be shown samples of checks and taught how they work. Smaller children will receive classes on basic financial concepts.

There are also classes to Air Force and civilians at the Air Force base that are offered at a cost of $25 to non-credit union members. Members and those that become members during the class pay no fee.

The classes teach about "basic money management, importance of credit, how to read and understand credit reports, car loans, mortgages, bankruptcy," she said. The entire course lasts five weeks and classes are given one night per week for two hours.

"Our aim for financial education is not to gain members, it is so that our community has the training and skills necessary to manage their money," she said. New memberships do come along in the process, she said.

She declined to comment on how much it is costing the 225,000-member, 22-branch credit union to put in place the financial education program. A press release from the credit union said it was funded "from earnings on proceeds from the sale of RBFCU's interest in the Pulse EFT Association to a subsidiary of Discover Financial Services."

"We are at the door of formalizing the program," Busscher said.

The credit union already has three in-school branches in addition to lobby branches.

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