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Service-Oriented Program Yields Immeasurable Returns

With National Philanthropy Day on the horizon, November 15, here’s a look at how one credit union was rewarded for its community education efforts.

Early Numbers Bode Well for FMFCU

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union President/CEO John D. Unangst has contagious enthusiasm for The Berenstain Bears and financial education. Seeing how the Bears successfully won the hearts of young readers and their parents (in the U.S. and abroad, over five decades) provided clear indication that the beloved characters would effectively aid the advancement of financial education. The secret, however, was in the careful research, construction, and execution of a program.

Once Berenstain Enterprises, Inc. granted them exclusive rights to use the Bears for financial literacy, FMFCU’s CUSO, Credit Union Network for Financial Literacy, began development of The Berenstain Bears Financial Literacy Program.

FMFCU began rolling out the program in late spring 2013. As the program continued to evolve, first year results were more than encouraging.

Between July 2013 and September 2014, FMFCU realized a 47.5% increase over the same period a year earlier in children’s savings accounts, or Cub Accounts, as they are now called. More than eleven hundred new Cub Accounts were opened, generating almost a half million dollars in deposits.

Member households with Cub Accounts account for $9.2MM in deposits and $9.4MM in loans. 51% of Cub Account households have at least one checking account; 34% have a loan product; and 9% have a credit card through FMFCU.

Most impressive about these figures is that they were attained organically.Minimal resources were spent on advertising during this period, as education and community outreach is FMFCU’s primary goal. The long-term significance of these community relations efforts remains to be seen.

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union’s success with The Berenstain Bears Financial Literacy Program is the result of its educational efforts. FMFCU’s Education Division boasts a staff of certified educators who go into schools to teach age-appropriate financial literacy lessons that they developed.

The Credit Union also pays for field trips. K-3 students visit the FMFCU branch based in their Broomall headquarters along with Bear Country Credit Union, an eleven hundred square foot financial literacy center designed and built by Metcalfe Architecture & Design, the developers of Philadelphia’s celebrated Please Touch Museum.

FMFCU’s Bear Country Credit Union is a prototype for financial literacy centers. Any element can be reproduced to create within credit union branches mini financial literacy centers that fully engage young children and their young-at-heart parents and grandparents.

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union is proof that properly directed goals—in this case, providing unique educational opportunities in the community it serves—return immeasurable results.

Contact CUNFL to learn how to bring The Berenstain Bears to your Credit Union.