May 22, 2014

(Albany, N.Y.) – Credit unions from across New York were recently honored by the New York Credit Union Foundation with state-level Desjardins Financial Education Awards. The awards recognize individual credit unions for their ongoing commitment to youth and adult financial education, and all first-place winners will advance to a nationwide competition overseen by the National Credit Union Foundation this fall.

Hudson River Community Credit Union (Corinth) received first place in the adult award category. After noticing a decline in member attendance at traditional financial education workshops, Hudson River Community CU decided to offer onsite workshops to local employers in Washington, Saratoga and Albany/Rensselaer counties. Workshops focused on 14 different financial education categories, including: First Time Home Buying, Credit Card Smarts & Managing Debt, Basic Budgeting, Financial Fitness for Teens and more. As a result of these efforts, Hudson River Community CU saw workshop attendance increase by more than 1,000 percent in 2013.

The following credit unions received Desjardins Financial Education Awards for their youth financial education initiatives:

Clarence Community & Schools Federal Credit Union (Clarence) received the first place award in the asset category of less than $50 million. In 2013, Clarence Community & Schools FCU expanded its internship program with Clarence High School to include students with disabilities, offering them valuable real-world work experience. The credit union also continued offering a Youth $avings Program in all six Clarence district schools, providing more than 5,000 students with an opportunity to open and maintain a savings account.

CORE Federal Credit Union (Syracuse) was selected in the asset category of $50 million-$150 million. The credit union reached more than 2,000 students last year through student financial literacy programs and in-school branch/banking days. In April, high school students at the credit union's student-run Spartan Branch began coaching middle school students on financial fitness and money-handling habits. Using a “students as educators” model, credit union staff trained high school students to deliver financial literacy presentations to their peers and younger children. CORE FCU staff also delivered numerous financial literacy presentations themselves, and continued to offer NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program to local students.

Corning Federal Credit Union (Corning) was selected in the asset category of more than $500 million. In 2013, Corning FCU conducted 128 financial education presentations—totaling more than 165 hours—for more than 2,300 local students. The credit union also launched a “Change Makes Sense” program. Through the program, students in six different classes were asked to save spare change for one month to illustrate how small contributions could lead to big savings. At the end of the month, Corning FCU matched the total savings dollar-for-dollar, and all the funds were donated to the English Family Memorial Fund. The program was so successful that it is being revamped and expanded in 2014.

Honorable mentions included Western New York FCU and Buffalo Metropolitan FCU.

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