Financial well-being isn’t reserved for any one group of people. America’s credit unions believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality financial services and financial education to meet their needs. Credit unions work daily with their members to find solutions to meet their members’ financial goals. Our members know they can count on their credit union to help them fulfill their financial dreams.
At its core, financial well-being has four main principles: Control, Capacity, Choice, and Goals.
- Control refers to the ability to manage day-to-day and month-to-month finances.
- Capacity is the ability to absorb a financial shock or unexpected debt.
- Choice is the financial freedom to decide what to spend money on and enjoy life.
- Goals can be short or long term financial aspirations.
The Financial Health Network estimates that 167 million Americans are financially unhealthy. Low-income communities, people of color, and rural populations are more likely to struggle with their financial health than the total population. Frequently, those truly struggling with one of the four core principles view abusive lenders as their only choice to make ends meet, but this unfortunately ends in a vicious cycle of taking out extremely high-interest loans. These types of lenders typically prey upon lower-income communities, further exasperating financial distress. The first step in combating abusive lending and improving one’s overall financial well-being is to take stock of what credit unions already do to help their members and share these examples with policymakers. The more information we gather, the better and more creative our solutions can become.
“When you think about financial well-being, I want to challenge the movement to go even deeper,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). “We need to back up our stories with facts and data that paint a clear picture of the difference you’ve made in people’s lives; the jobs you’ve saved, the paychecks you’ve protected, and the houses you’ve kept people in. By literally showing our work, by quantifying our impact at the local, state, and national levels, we will demonstrate that credit unions are truly focusing on the needs of its members.”
America’s credit unions have a Plan for Better Communities, which includes ensuring their members are financially healthy. Many credit unions across the nation offer a variety of personalized counseling, education classes, and products that help members understand their unique financial situation and create a plan to attain their goals. Watch this story from Kemba Credit Union in West Virginia and hear how they actively work with members to improve their credit through personalized counseling. This is just one of many examples of credit unions’ People Helping People philosophy.
Click here to read more about credit unions improving member’s financial well-being.
America’s credit unions are local community-based not-for-profit financial cooperatives that are owned and run by their members. Credit unions are the better choice for America’s middle-class families. They work to help families follow their dreams, keep their homes, start and expand small businesses, and hold communities together.