Sixty-six credit union professionals from across California and Nevada completed the first-ever Financial Counselor Academy this week, earning their newly credentialed Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation so they can help members successfully achieve financial wellbeing!
Created and launched by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues — in partnership with the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation — this inaugural program from January to April provided credit union staff with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist members in achieving financial stability, from frontline employees to those in lending, collections, and management.
“Congratulations to our 66 participants for their commitment to the program and advancing their knowledge and skills to help their members and communities,” said Larry Palochik, executive vice president of the Leagues. “And thank you to the RMJ Foundation for partnering with the Leagues to deliver this program. We are proud of what this first cohort accomplished, and we look forward to seeing positive results as these certified counselors draw upon our industry’s philosophical principles to raise the financial wellbeing of credit union members across both states.”
For participants who complete the program and pass the proctored examination, this certification is recognized as a standard of excellence in the industry and demonstrates a credit union professional’s commitment to providing high-quality financial counseling services. Participants not only engaged with the presenters and study guides, they also learned by interacting with their cohort throughout the academy, enhancing their experience and building relationships that will last for years to come.
The 13-week program was designed to enhance the self-study Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) offered by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), using the CUNA FiCEP edition-5 textbook as a learning foundation, and adding elements to help participants easily grasp and retain counseling concepts and knowledge. It included tutorial webinars, video-conferences, instructor-led training, and a resource toolkit.
In addition to the training program, the League and RMJ Foundation are also offering ongoing support and resources to CCUFCs, including access to a community of certified financial counselors and professional development opportunities.
“Our interactive webinars used relevant examples, and our fill-in-the blank study guides and live-exam preparation session helped reinforce the knowledge students needed to pass the exam so they can effectively perform their counseling duties,” said Tena Lozano, executive director of the RMJ Foundation. “With these new credentialed financial counselors in California and Nevada, our communities are one step closer to realizing financial wellbeing for all.”
Daniel West, vice president of impact and development for the Leagues, said an increasing number of credit unions are looking for ways to reinvigorate their financial wellness education offerings.
“Our Financial Counselor Academy offered participants an opportunity to connect with their peers, share resources, and share best practices in a unique way so they can accomplish their educational mission,” West said. “This first program cohort was a great success — and we look forward to many more.”
The second Financial Counselor Academy session is just around the corner, with registration opening in May. The Leagues and the RMJ Foundation look forward to embarking on this program very soon once again.
For more information about the program or to participate in the next session, please email Daniel West.