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News Now

CU System
REAL Solutions plans to delve deeper in 2009
WASHINGTON (1/7/09)--REAL Solutions, the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), plans to delve deeper rather than extend wider in 2009.
National Program Director Lois Kitsch and her team of field coaches are bringing REAL Solutions to more than 30 states. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
“While we still plan to bring REAL Solutions to more states,” said National Program Director Lois Kitsch, “we plan to delve deeper in the 30 current participating states. Participating leagues have asked us to introduce new services, pilot projects, and toolkits to help more credit unions implement REAL Solutions.” Each time a state adopts the program, an NCUF field coach and a credit union development professional from the league train credit unions to provide services that serve consumers having low wealth—people with low income or modest means and those with moderate and middle incomes who struggle to save and build assets. REAL Solutions then shares best practices to help low-wealth consumers become credit union members, grow savings, and build assets that will generate wealth. “When rolling out REAL Solutions in new states, we will follow the same format that has worked so well in other states,” Kitsch said. “By combining our resources with the league, credit unions and their members will benefit from our shared experiences across the country.” Online, a new REAL Solutions Impact Center is now available for credit unions in every state. Model service descriptions, low-wealth market trends, partnership opportunities, interactive forums and blogs are designed to appeal not only to participating credit unions, but to all credit unions. Later this year, through a grant from the Aspen Institute’s “Living Cities Mashup,” the REAL Solutions Impact Center will add a portal for community organizations. This will help credit unions address one of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Membership Growth Task Force’s top recommendations: “develop more community partnerships.” NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin served as a liaison to the CUNA Membership Growth Task Force. He said the Impact Center’s ultimate goal “is to become the ‘go-to’ site for everyone interested in helping credit unions better serve low-wealth households and emerging markets including young adults.” The Impact Center is also designed to help credit unions measure the impact of their services. Leading up to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in February, credit unions will have an opportunity to fill out an online survey to quantify their outreach initiatives. The survey will be based on the REAL Deal, the new outreach initiative advanced by the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) in partnership with CUNA and NCUF (News Now Jan.5). NCUF, state credit union foundations and leagues will continue to fund REAL Solutions through shared assets including the Community Investment Fund (CIF), which won the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Award for Fundraising Excellence. Offered through the Corporate Credit Union Network, CIF investments are structured to earn dividends for each corporate credit union member while making charitable donations to NCUF and state credit union organizations.
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