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Article Archive

"Educational Programs Support Financial Freedom" - NCUF Executive Director Writes in CU Times

As the charitable arm of America's credit union movement, the National Credit Union Foundation’s programs and grants provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services and empower credit union members to build assets. We will still continue in that direction, but we will primarily focus on financial education initiatives through REAL Solutions and grant-making to credit union organizations across the country.... More

What Your Personality Says About Your Financial Decisions

When it comes to making financial decisions, particularly ones involving signing up for a credit card, your personality is a driving factor.

“Extroverts brains are wired differently,” says Jacob Hirsh, lead researcher on a just-completed study at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “They’re more sensitive to potential rewards.”

Turns out, when your brain is confronted with a choice of “reward now” or “reward later,” two systems kick in. One involves your thinking, analytical brain, which weighs the pros and cons of accepting the offer on the table versus delaying and potentially receiving something of greater value. Psychologists like Hirsh refer to this as the “cool” process. The other system, referred to as the “hot” process, involves a much more primitive part of your brain. In response to the opportunity to receive instant gratification, it releases dopamine. ... More

2011 National Youth's Savings Challenge

A Journey to $1,000 Dollars

How do children develop a saving habit? To paraphrase Confucius: A journey to $1,000 dollars begins with the first deposit in a credit union youth savings account. National Credit Union Youth Week is a great way to encourage that first step. By sponsoring the National Youth Saving Challenge™ at your credit union, you can generate excitement about setting money aside for personal goals. ... More

Bankruptcies in West Alabama exceed national average

Personal bankruptcy filings in eight of West Alabama’s 10 counties last year were higher than the national average and, in most counties, significantly higher, according to data compiled by a Columbia University researcher.

Ronald Mann, a law professor at Columbia who has researched bankruptcy issues for about 10 years and has tracked the nation’s monthly personal bankruptcy rates for several years, said he has seen a troubling trend develop in the Southeast recently. It has some of the nation’s highest bankruptcy rates, particularly in its smaller communities.

At the request of The Tuscaloosa News, Mann ran the 2010 data on the 10 counties in West Alabama that comprise the News’ coverage area.... More

America Saves Week - February 20-27, 2011

Join the Growing Movement To Get America Saving Again

Sign up your organization as a partner for America Saves Week -- February 20-27, 2011

America Saves is a nonprofit campaign that encourages savings year round and once a year holds America Saves Week with employers, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, government agencies, educators and youth organizations, the military and media outlets to help people take financial action.... More

Americans Committing Financial Infidelity

It took getting turned down for a mortgage for Olivia to realize her financial infidelity had become a serious problem. Olivia’s husband Simon had pristine credit, but in 2003 a bank denied the New Jersey couple a loan because of Olivia’s low credit score. Years of overspending, maxing out credit cards, being late on bills and even missing a few payments finally caught up with her.

"That was the first time Simon realized just what a financial mess I was, and it was the first time I had to openly share my credit flaws," says Olivia. "Though we had been together for eight years, I had been good at hiding the severity of my situation."

Financial deception is a common problem among couples. Three in 10 Americans who have combined their finances with a partner admit to lying to their significant other about their finances, according to a December 2010 online survey commissioned by the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) and conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey also finds 32 percent of adults say they have been lied to about money by their partners.... More

Payday Alternatives Work!

State Employees' Credit Union seems intent on disproving the axiom that consumers who use short-term loan products will not seek them out if they have a savings component.

The $21.4 billion credit union, headquartered in Raleigh, N. C., said over 150,000 members have used its decade-old Salary Advance Loan product and saved over $20 million in savings accounts after the loan began requiring borrowers to deposit 5% of their loan proceeds into a savings account in 2003. Over the years, some of those members have saved over $2,500 in their savings accounts, the CU said.... More

Get More Spring Break, without breaking the bank!

Spring Break -- two simple words that, to most college students preparing for or recovering from midterms and the daily stressors of life, mean a much-anticipated escape to paradise for a long week away from worries and responsibilities. While, momentarily ignoring the research paper due the day class resumes, Spring Break does sound nice.

But where are you planning to go? Lolling about on sandy beaches and parties galore may sound like a dream to some, but tourist destinations can get too pricey too quickly for the average student budget. For a truly unforgettable experience, get creative with your friends and consider these ideas, which won't blow a fortune. ... More

Program keeps high cost of tax refund loans low

The Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union in Berkeley is pioneering a pilot program this year that offers a low-cost alternative to refund anticipation loans, or RALs. It hopes the approach could be a model for similar programs at other credit unions.

The pilot program charges a processing fee of $19 for the short-term loan; filers who don't already belong to the credit union pay another $6 to join it. Commercial tax prep services charge higher fees that work out to annualized rates of 40 percent to 500 percent. Many consumer advocates call these RALs a form of loan sharking that preys on the working poor. ... More

Think Your Credit Union Is Too Small for a Youth Program? Think Again

When we started our youth financial education program, we had nothing but a book and the desire to teach the importance of responsible financial practices. From there, we developed an outstanding program that has grown in leaps and bounds.... More

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