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Illinois REAL Solutions Network Partners Share Ideas
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (10/24/13)--Partner credit unions of the Illinois REAL Solutions met at the end of September to discuss innovations and ongoing efforts in classroom presentations, reality fairs, emergency loans and other topics, said the Illinois Credit Union League. The topics ranged from youth financial literacy, serving underserved areas, small-dollar emergency loans, and more.
Credit unions that participated in the meeting included:
  • Alliant CU, Chicago, which partners with Operation Hope to present the "Banking on Our Future" financial education program to local middle school students as part of life skills classes the school offers.  There is no cost for this program and no financial support is required.
  • Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, which created a version of the popular "Mad City Money" reality fair that is designed to work in a middle school or junior high setting.
  • Community Plus FCU, Rantoul, which shared information about several products that it implemented based on presentations at past Illinois REAL Solutions meetings. Among the ideas it shared were a small-dollar emergency loan, a share-secured loan program and a non-prime auto loan program.
  • Mid-Illini CU, Bloomington, which hopes to reach 1,000 students through the Banzai financial literacy program and classroom presentations. The credit union also highlighted the opening of its first branch in a church located in the local area where no other traditional financial institutions have offices. Mid-Illini CU has also introduced a payday loan alternative program called "Catch a Break Cash" that offers loans of up to $1,000, which can be paid back over a period of one year.
  • RIA FCU, Rock Island, which created an educational program for elementary school students called Kids Are Rewarded for Saving, for second through sixth grade students.  At the end of the year, the credit union hosts and helps prepare the students for a lemonade stand fundraiser.
  • Earthmover CU, Aurora, which opened its Panther CU branch at Oswego High School nearly 20 years ago.  Students handle basic transactions at the branch and develop promotional campaigns to encourage other students to join the credit union and to use its products and services. 
 REAL Solutions is the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation, which works through state credit union leagues to help credit unions make the difference for members, families and communities. REAL Solutions builds member and consumer financial capability by offering tools such as an online resource center, product development, Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program, experiential learning programs—like reality fairs, retirement fairs, and life simulations, and more.

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