Collins Community Credit Union

Empowering Success - A conversation on Achieve@Collins

Embark on a journey of financial empowerment with Collins Community Credit Union’s Achieve@Collins Program (originally launched in 2022). The program, led by our Retail Team, is a financial toolkit that includes our Simple Checking account, Credit Builder loan, and Financial Wellness resources. In February 2024, our branch sales manager, Michael, presented the program at Simpson College for their Upward Bound student program.

Read on for his insights on Achieve@Collins’ impact in the greater Iowa community.

Published on Mar 04, 2024

What is the partnership that you have with Simpson College and its relation to Achieve@Collins?

The partnership with them focuses on providing general financial education through our Achieve@Collins Program. Their programing director reached out and expressed interest in accessible and concise financial education. Achieve@Collins emphasizes basics like budgeting, understanding credit scores, and more.

What specific aspects of Achieve@Collins were highlighted in your presentation to Simpsons Upward Bound Students?

I ended up customizing the content, covering key aspects like distinguishing between banks and credit unions. We delved into understanding credit and debit cards, discussed budgeting tips such as the 70-20-10 rule (adapted from the 50-30-20 rule), highlighting the shift due to inflation. Additionally, I introduced an interactive game where students, grouped by credit scores, managed monthly expenses, emphasizing the importance of savings. The game involved candy as income, making the learning experience more engaging and enjoyable.

How does Achieve@Collins contribute overall to Collins Community Credit Unions mission?

It plays a crucial role in educating individuals, including immigrants and participants in programs like Upward Bound. Upward Bound targets first-generation college students and those from low-income areas, offering skills for college and beyond. As a program alumnus, I find personal resonance in supporting such initiatives. Education is vital for setting a strong foundation, preventing financial challenges. In the presentation, I shared my own personal experience about mishandling credit in college in order to illustrate the potential pitfalls. In my freshman year, uninformed decisions led to myself accumulating $20,000 in credit card debt. My journey with credit took a decade to rectify due to the lasting impact on my credit score and financial stability. I stress the importance of responsible credit use, highlighting the realities and consequences. Achieve@Collins serves as a proactive measure for people, guiding individuals through financial pitfalls, ensuring they don't face the same challenges I did. It reinforces the understanding that while credit can be beneficial, misuse and lack of education can lead to difficulties.

How do you think (or hope) that Achieve@Collins will have an impact on these students’ financial goals?

It’ll help instill effective habits, especially regarding savings plans and budgeting. Emphasizing the importance of creating a budget aligned with individual circumstances, even if starting with a higher percentage towards expenses, is crucial. Building such habits early is key, as they tend to stay with individuals throughout their lives. Encouraging them to leverage the current phase of fewer financial responsibilities, like living at home, to begin saving is essential for long term success.

What would you say about this story in relation to Collins Community Credit Unions community outreach efforts?

It shows the significance of community outreach efforts. Credit unions, traditionally focused on serving the underserved, find resonance in programs that help places like the Upward Bound program. This program specifically assists low-income, first-generation college students, individuals facing challenges in their path to success.

The alignment between Upward Bound's mission and our institution's goals is evident. Both share the aim of empowering individuals who may not be initially set up for success, guiding them toward achieving their objectives. This commitment to support resonates with broader community outreach endeavors, reflecting our dedication to helping students and families thrive.

The reference to past initiatives, such as housing and education projects for low-income individuals, further highlights Collins’ consistent efforts in helping people achieve their goals. Ultimately, this story illustrates how community outreach is integral to the core values that guide our daily actions as a credit union.

What would you say to our membership about how they can learn more and benefit from this program?

I would say there are multiple ways you could learn more about it. You can visit our website and search for Achieve at Collins to read up on it. You can stop into one of our branches and ask or alternatively call our contact center and ask over the phone, online chat or even video banking. As for benefits, it’s all about the tools that this program provides. You receive access to our Simple Checking account; an account that’s designed to prevent accidental overdrafts and help manage your spending with ease. It also comes with access to our Credit Builder Loan; which can be used to establish new credit or repair your existing credit score. Lastly, but certainly not least, our financial wellness resources included go beyond just great account offerings. It moves into education on having a financially healthy lifestyle. It does this through GreenPath, our partnership that we have with certified financial counseling experts that work with you on a personal level help you achieve your goals, both short and long term. Plus, can’t forget the app Zogo. Zogo is an app with fun, bite sized financial lessons where you can literally earn and learn at the same time!

Add all of this together and you have a program that’s impactful and helps you take control of your financial life, and of course, access to our team of passionate, dedicated financial experts that are ready to assist you along your life’s financial journey.

What's News

View All What's New