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Beach Municipal Wins State, National Desjardins Award

Feb 20, 2013 by Lewis Wood

Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union won a 1st Place Award in both the state and national Desjardins Adult Financial Education program for its work on the Bank on Virginia Beach initiative.

Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union won a 1st Place Award in both the state and national Desjardins Adult Financial Education program for its work on the Bank on Virginia Beach initiative.

The Desjardins Award, sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association, honors credit unions for their commitment to teaching personal finance basics in local communities.

Bank on Virginia Beach was launched by the city's Department of Human Services to help unbanked and underbanked citizens gain access to traditional financial products and services, with the goal of helping them save money, build their credit, and better manage their finances.

Launched in January 2012, Bank on Virginia Beach is a partnership of local credit unions, banks, community organizations, and the City of Virginia Beach committed to increasing the financial stability of low- to middle-income families. Bank on Virginia Beach is designed to connect unbanked and under-banked households to traditional financial services and provide them with alternatives to expensive financial transactions.

Beach Municipal was an integral part of the initiative, helping guide 180 individuals through the program and writing the manuals used by program participants to learn basic personal finance concepts.

In addition to financial education courses, the program provided a personal Financial Coach to participants. The Financial Coach helped them apply the concepts taught in the financial education courses to their unique financial situations -- aiding in the creation of personal budgets, assistance in managing a checking account, building or rebuilding a credit score, and strategies for building savings.

"We look at Bank on Virginia Beach as an opportunity to reach members of our community most in need of a helping hand in managing their finances," says Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union CEO Geri Metzger. "This program is also truly unique in that the personal Finance Coaches are able to give one-on-one assistance to participants. This ensures participants can take what they learn in the 'classroom' and apply it to their specific financial situation and needs."The Bank of Virginia Beach program proved so successful it was picked up for a second year. Learn more about the program online at http://joinbankon.org/programs/virginia_beach_va.

Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union has been serving the financial needs of its members since 1970. As a not-for-profit financial institution, the credit union is committed to meeting the needs and wants of its membership. Since its inception, Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union has grown to more than $100 million in assets and more than 12,500 members. Learn more online:http://www.beachmunicipal.org

The award is named in honor of Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement, who established the first “caisse populaire” (people’s bank) in Quebec in 1900, and helped establish the first American credit union in New Hampshire in 1909. Desjardins was an ardent believer in the value of teaching individuals to save, and he promoted the idea of in-school savings programs (caisses scolaires).

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