Credit Union FINHEALTH19: Engage, Share, Make an Impact

CU FinHealth panel
QCash CEO Ben Morales (at the podium) along with ChangED Co-Founder Nick Sky and PSCU SVP of Industry Engagement Merry Pateuk discussed what is happening in the small dollar loan, student loan, and payment arenas. Far right: National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland.

Nearly 90 credit union leaders and professionals from across the nation, including California and Nevada, attended Credit Union FINHEALTH19 in Las Vegas over a two-day period last week to learn the latest finhealth trends and how best to educate their communities.

“FINHEALTH19 brought together credit union professionals to engage, share, and make an impact for our members and communities in the financial health and wellness space,” said Larry Palochik, senior vice president of member solutions for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “The sessions were geared to provide relevant and meaningful information and take-aways. They were highly interactive and engaging pulling in the audience to be part of the event.  A key thread throughout was the importance of solving the needs of our members and communities.”

At one point, attendees engaged in a lively hands-on exercise. Participants were divided into “tables”. Each “table” was posed two questions: What can credit unions do to put FinHealth at the center of their strategy? AND How are credit unions helping members build emergency funds; providing credit that is appropriate and affordable; measuring and documenting the impact of their efforts; and collaborating/partnering to address community needs like access to food, affordable housing, transportation, etc?

Travis CU AVP of Corporate Relations Damian Alarcon during the table discussions.   


Each group then had to produce three ideas to implement. Among the ideas was the importance of starting with employees in terms of putting FinHealth at the center of a credit union’s strategy and to find out where a consumer is in life when he or she walks in.  There also were discussions on how some credit unions already provide programs to help consumers build an emergency fund, for example, as well as collaborate and partner with local community organizations.

In general attendees said FinHealth should be part of strategic plan and that both external and internal advisory groups are important to provide insight.


South Carolina FCU Financial Education and Program Development Manager Sue Sinnott.  


 Several panel discussions took place throughout the conference touching on a number of topics:

A State of the State:  National Update on FinHealth Trends with CFSI Manager Brenton Peck, Sr.; Prosperity Now Associate Director, Savings & Financial Capability Team, Parker Cohen; and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Assistant Director, Office of Financial Education Janneke Ratcliffe


Panelists Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Janneke Ratcliffe; Prosperity Now's Parker Cohen; and CFSI's Brenton Peck, Sr.


 “You’ve Measured FinHealth. Now What?” with Travis CU AVP of Corporate Relations Damian Alarcon; AdvantEdge Analytics Director of Market/Client Strategy Anne Legg; Inclusiv VP, Strategic Initiatives Ann Solomon; EverFi VP of Mid-Market Sales and Evan Willingham.


Gigi Hyland with “You’ve Measured FinHealth. Now What?” panel—L-R: Travis CU's Damian Alarcon, EverFi's Evan Willingham, AdvantEdge's Anne Legg, and Inclusiv's Ann Solomon.


 Lessons learned from the “FinHealth Road”. Panelists included Accredited Financial Coach and credit union Consultant Carl Windom; Guadalupe CU Financial Empowerment and Outreach Manager Diane Sandoval-Griego; University FCU SVP, Community Impact Heather McKissick; and Metro CU Chief Development Officer/ SVP Advocacy & Outreach Charlene Bauer.

Fairfax County Health Department Deputy Director for Innovation & Planning Chris Revere moderated a panel discussion on “Health, Wealth & Place:  What You Can Do”. Panelists were Adam Schickedanz, MD, PhD, with the UCLA Department of Pediatrics; Geraldine Germaine, Project Manager at Washington University St. Louis; Ann McMillian, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at IHMVCU; and Shirley Cate, CEO of Providence CU.

QCash CEO Ben Morales, ChangED Co-Founder Nick Sky, and PSCU SVP of Industry Engagement Merry Pateuk discussed what is happening in the small dollar loan, student loan, and payment arenas.

For the second consecutive year, an EverFi User Meeting was held where credit unions and the Leagues reflected on their partnership, discussed successes, and targeted opportunities going forward. The Leagues’ Financial Capability Initiative, powered by EverFi, has been helping credit unions provide the digital financial education their members need to help develop and refine savings and financial capability strategies. In addition, Richard Myles Johnson Foundation Executive Director Tena Lozano held a Bite of Reality (BOR) App User meeting for BOR App licensees from across the country to elicit feedback and share updates on ways the app can be used to improve financial reality fairs for young people.

The conference ended Friday with a group discussion facilitated by Larry Palochik and National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland.

“Putting members’ financial health at the center of credit unions’ strategy is what CU FinHealth is all about,” said Hyland. “We talked about measuring, operationalizing, and documenting financial health so it benefits members, communities, and drives growth for credit unions. Financial health is the future of credit unions’ relevance in the financial services marketplace.”

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