Why 1 CU Turned To Seminars-With Extra Lemon Zest!

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Giving members and SEGS what they want when they want it has helped breathe new life into US Federal Credit Union's financial education program.

"Everybody offers seminars," acknowledged Marty Kelly, VP-marketing and business development. "What we did was packaged them as a program available to all of our partners."

Instead of being invited to a particular seminar at a particular time, he said, SEG groups can pick and choose from a menu of about 30 different seminars, divided into several different categories, such as retirement and investments.

"This is not just, 'Hey, we're doing a home buying seminar. Come on out,'" he said. "They can pick what topics are best for their employees and we provide the literature, the posters, the speakers and the refreshments and prizes."

Kelly will present "New, Improved, Reduced Fat, Lo-Carb SEG Seminars...with Extra Lemon-Zest," a discussion about how the creative packaging revived relationships with inactive SEGS during the 6th Annual SEG & Business Development Conference March 31-April 1. The event, sponsored by The Credit Union Journal, will be held at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.

"We believe that a fiscally educated employee is going to be a better employee in the long run," Kelly said, referring to research by Dr. Thomas Garman, Professor of Consumer Affairs and Family Financial Management at Virginia Tech and fellow of the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement Personal Finance Employee Education. "If you've got an employee with credit problems, they are going to be on the phone with their financial institution or bill collectors and are probably not going to be focused on the job you've hired them to do."

He said with the credit union's tips and guidelines to help those individuals, organizations as a whole can be more productive.

Kelly said the new "Learn at Work" program-the brainchild of Heather Bacigalupo, business development specialist at US FCU-opened doors that had been closed for years. "Since we kicked it off in April, we've probably done 60 to 70 seminars," Kelly said. "That easily quadruples what we did in the past."

Kelly said the seminars allow SEG groups to focus on what's most important to their employees. "Is an employee a victim of identity theft? If so, our SEG contact can go to our Learn at Work series and find the resources to help."

He said USFCU utilizes experts from various places, including in-house staff, CUNA Mutual and car-buying services. "If we're talking about asset protection and credit reports, we bring the experts in that know that topic. It's not just one or two people at the CU conducting these."

By the way, Kelly said, none of the seminars include sales pitches. "We are more than happy to go out and provide a sales pitch at a different time," he said. "But these series are educational in nature."

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