July 14, 2020
Eau Claire, WI – In the fall of 2019 The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) awarded 8 grants totaling $75,000 to help credit unions document and measure the impact of their products and services on member and employee financial health. Royal Credit Union (Royal) was selected to receive $7,500 in funding and partnered with UW-Stout’s Applied Research Center (ARC) to measure the effectiveness of the credit union’s financial education program in correctional facilities.
Royal offers educational programs in county jail facilities in Rice Lake, Menomonie and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Royal also has a program in the WI Department of Correction’s Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility in Chippewa Falls. Royal used the grant funds to develop a tool to measure skill development, attitude changes and predictive behaviors upon completion of the financial education course. Data collection started in January 2020 and had planned to continue for 5 months. Unfortunately, the correctional facility financial education program had to be suspend in early March as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Preliminary analyses of the survey data that was collected in January and February of 2020 showed statistically significant gains in attitudes and confidence levels regarding financial literacy. Identifying predatory lending behaviors, understanding there are different ways to pay down debt, and comprehensive awareness of the impact of credit scores/reports were a few of the topics where students showed gains. In addition, course participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with the course and instructor. Overall, the responses indicated high levels of satisfaction in both areas.
Royal remains committed to its correctional facility financial education program and will resume providing in person courses as soon as it is safe while also looking into the possibility of offering virtual lessons. “We look forward to collecting and publishing data that will show the impact of the program on a much larger scale.” said Jennifer McHugh, Royal’s Vice President of Community Engagement. In light of the recent events and increased awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, this program offers an opportunity to support a marginalized population. We believe it can play a small role in creating the systemic change that is required in our society and commend NCUF for being early supporters of this unique credit union program.”
About Royal Credit Union
Royal Credit Union is a federally insured credit union proudly serving over 220,000 Members in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Royal is driven by a core ideology built on a strong purpose and values. You can open an account or apply for a low-rate loan at Royal Credit Union if you live or work in 26 counties in western Wisconsin or 16 counties in Minnesota. Counties served in Wisconsin include Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Lincoln, Marathon, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Washburn, and Wood. Counties served in Minnesota include Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Olmsted, Pine, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Wabasha, Washington, Winona and Wright. Realtors in the state of Wisconsin or Minnesota are also eligible to join the credit union. Visit rcu.org or call Royal Credit Union at 800-341-9911 for more information.