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Local Credit Union Offers Personal Finance Tips, Life Lessons

Oregon State Credit Union organizes "Financial Reality Fairs," where young people learn more about the skills it takes to live independently. (Oregon State Credit Union)
Oregon State Credit Union organizes "Financial Reality Fairs," where young people learn more about the skills it takes to live independently. (Oregon State Credit Union)
July 20, 2018

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon credit union is teaching people how to manage their money – and offering some life lessons along the way.

Amanda Brenneman-Brown is the community education director for Oregon State Credit Union in Corvallis. She reaches more than 12,000 a year, teaching and facilitating others to teach her courses.

She says the most requested course is an eight-week series that covers some of the financial basics – such as budgeting and debt – as well as more complicated issues, like how and why to use a financial institution in the first place.

"Going over and discovering the cost of being 'unbanked,' and sharing with people how much it truly does cost to be unbanked,” says Brenneman-Brown. “I've also talked about money and personal relationships and also how to deal with stress. So stress management and money as well."

Other financial institutions offer financial literacy programs under the guidelines of the Community Reinvestment Act. Brenneman-Brown says credit unions aren't required to offer education programs under that law, but many have opted to provide them.

Brenneman-Brown says her courses reach all kinds of people, and are taught at places like housing authorities and nonprofits. She's also assisted the Oregon Department of Corrections.

"I, in partnership with them, developed curriculum and enhanced some of the curriculum that they had where all of the transition coordinators now teach our financial education to those inmates who are getting ready to transition back out to everyday society,” says Brenneman-Brown.

Oregon State Credit Union's programs reach young people too, with a focus on helping them live independently. Brenneman-Brown helped develop what she calls "Financial Reality Fairs" at her credit union, giving students a space to learn what it will be like to live on their own.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR