ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (10/29/09)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) was awarded a $40,500 grant from the National Credit Union Foundation to launch a statewide Savings Revolution challenge.
Kathy Darwin, REAL Solutions consultant for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM), and Mike Athens, CUANM vice president of association services, look over a $40,500 grant from the National Credit Union Foundation to launch a statewide Savings Revolution challenge. (Photo provided by Credit Union Association of New Mexico)
The year-long Savings Revolution is like Weight Watchers for your wallet, said Mike Athens, CUANM vice president of association services (CUANM Network
October). The program allows people to overhaul their financial lifestyles to save money and reduce debt with strategies supported by their credit union collaboration. The New Mexico challenge is the first statewide challenge, with six credit unions participating, Athens added. “It comes under the umbrella of REAL Solutions to reach out to low-wealth individuals, new Americans and youth,” he said. “Players will have financial issues and will benefit from the challenge.” The winner will receive a cash prize. The savings challenge targets families or individuals chosen by the six participating credit unions, although other members can get involved, said Kathy Darwin, REAL Solutions program coordinator for CUANM. The Savings Revolution has two main components:
* A savings challenge in which about 15-18 selected credit union members will compete to achieve defined savings and debt reduction goals, and build their credit. The participant(s) most closely reaching or exceeding their financial goals win the competition and receive a cash prize. * In the meantime, through online communications and other channels, other members can take the challenge using the same techniques. One goal is to have members network to set goals, share notes with those facing similar challenges and see how others respond to those challenges.
Participating credit unions are:
* Chino FCU, Silver City; * LOCO CU, Alamogordo; * High Plains FCU, Clovis; * Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe; * Everyone’s FCU, Tucumcari; and * Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque.
Each family or participant will have a credit union coach who will meet with them monthly to advise them, monitor progress and help them adjust their plans along the way, Darwin said. An outside accounting firm will tally the final numbers, looking for reduction in debt and an increase in savings and credit scores to find the winner. “This is a fun way to help entire communities learn more about financial literacy and managing their finances as they do the same thing the contestants will be doing: reducing debt, and building their credit,” Darwin said.