ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/15/11)--Minnesota credit unions had strong representation at a meeting with the new state commerce commissioner and his new financial literacy roundtable.
Minnesota’s new face on the financial education scene is Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. The Minnesota Commerce Department yesterday convened a financial literacy roundtable to bring interested parties--including the financial industry, state agencies, non-profits (including credit unions) and others--to the same table to outline ways that various organizations improve the financial knowledge of Minnesotans. At the meeting, credit unions were specifically recognized by the commissioner in his opening comments for their work in the financial education arena. In attendance were St. Paul-based Affinity Plus FCU President/CEO Kyle Markland and Senior Vice President Sarah Mason; Burnsville, Minn.-based US FCU CEO Bill Raker; and Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) representatives Kristina Wright, vice president-association services, and Mara Humphrey, vice president-governmental affairs. The meeting encouraged sharing and collaboration among the organizations represented. “Financial literacy is very important to all of us, and there is a strong commitment with this administration to working on financial literacy,” Rothman said. “From the governor on down to the staff, we all share the common goal of wanting to make Minnesota a better place.” Rothman discussed the need to increase coordination of efforts and acknowledged the many barriers that stand in the way of financial education. “As not-for-profit financial institutions, credit unions have long known that member education is the key to success,” Wright said. “While each credit union is different in terms of its size and approaches to financial education, credit unions know that when members make informed decisions on their financial products and services, it benefits both the consumer and the institution.” Among the initiatives discussed was the Ladder Out of Poverty Task Force, which was established in 2010 to focus on asset development, financial education and community support. Also, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and President Barack Obama have declared their interest in and support of financial literacy by proclaiming April as Financial Literacy Month.