Teen Education Program Expands To More Than 200 CUs

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CU Succeed, a financial education program for teenagers developed by the New Mexico Credit Union League Services Corporation, recently passed the 200-credit union mark. And the program is still growing.

CU Succeed launched in fall 2001 with 11 participating credit unions. When The Credit Union Journal first profiled the program in November, 2002, it had grown to 117 CUs in 30 states.

As of Sept. 30, CU Succeed had signed up 210 credit unions from 36 U.S. states, plus one CU in Canada, and was working in conjunction with 28 state leagues.

Grant Price, marketing specialist for the New Mexico league, joined the program six months ago. Price, who formerly owned his own design company, is the designer and webmaster for CU Succeed.

"We are very excited about surpassing 200 credit unions," he said. "When I started, there were less than 150, but a number of elements came together in recent months. The program is still growing because credit unions know they need to do things like this. And once they hear about CU Succeed, they're interested."

Price said his role is to do research and look for ways to make materials that speak to teens. This includes a brand identity that is cohesive, contemporary and appealing.

CU Succeed's website features content that is written by teenagers. The content is rotated every three weeks to keep the site fresh. The teens are paid for their writing, and the program also donates money to their schools' journalism programs.

The Next Generation

"The reason the program is so important is, we are connecting with the next generation of credit union members," said Price. "We really focus on those connections; on creating a long -term relationship. So many credit unions are relying on us to strengthen the bond between them and teens in their area."

According to Price, CU Succeed gives credit unions the opportunity to tell teens what services are available. The website has seven customizable areas that can be used for different purposes by each participating CU. For example, one credit union can announce the details of its auto loan program, while another can tout its CDs.

The CU Succeed program is a way for credit unions that want to get into community development to share information and to build a "network of knowledge and information," Price continued. Not only does it reach out to teens, it helps CUs market better to an oft-misunderstood audience.

"When a credit union sets up an educational seminar, we tell them not to call it a 'seminar,' because that sounds boring," he explained. "This is financial literacy they are not getting in school, or anywhere else. We want to keep credit unions at the forefront of teens' minds, so when they do need financial services, they will go to a credit union."

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