Report
393
Number
Apr 04 2016

Assuring Member Financial Capability: A Shared Credit Union Approach

A common platform for financial capability initiatives would enable credit unions to provide members with high-quality financial education and content. After all, credit unions have a vested interest in ensuring members’ positive well-being

Matthew A. Lieber
Instructor of Political Science
Madison College
Report Number 393

Executive Summary 

Never before has personal financial capability been as essential as it is in today’s era of economic complexity and stress. One in every two Americans—every other credit union member—is financially distressed and suffer-ing in part from costly financial practices.

Financial know-how impacts well-being. These are the core truths of financial capability. Returns from resources, literacy skills, and constructive behavior accumulate over time—boosting security at every level of income. Today, 50 million American households sense themselves on the wrong side of this equation, struggling to regain control. The work of guiding them for good—of helping to empower the financially marginalized—is demanding and important.

Credit unions have a basic, long- standing interest in helping their members become more financially capable. Within the financial industry, credit unions have a competitive advantage in their member service mission. While credit unions have long offered support, these efforts have not always been well coordinated or effective. There remains ample potential for greater impact.