2018 Financial Counselor Registration (FiCEP) is now open for credit union leaders. The cost of registration, which includes training materials as well as webinars, group testing, and/or proctoring if needed, is $650 per person and SAS funds may be applied.
There are two exams consisting of 100 questions each (Part I and Part II). Special training and coaching will be provided to help credit unions develop a detailed vision and plan for financial counseling. Individuals who successfully complete the exams will earn their Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor (CUCFC) designation. With certified financial counselors on staff, credit unions are better able to:
- Help those experiencing financial difficulties: Utilize the FiCEP certified team members to assist members that are just starting out or seem to be struggling (using overdraft protection regularly, falling behind on loan payments, using a credit card to make payments). Identify these members through daily interactions and then schedule consultation appointments. Appointments can also be set up through the website for those looking for help. List your certified counselors on the website with bios and give members the opportunity to request an appointment. If feasible, allow those certified to block off part of their schedule each week for financial counseling appointments (start with a half day each week, then go to a full day or two half days. Just be consistent with the times).
- Demonstrate the credit union difference: Many banks are not proactive when it comes to helping members, waiting until they are months past due and sometimes too far under water to make contact. You should be sure to communicate to members that this service is available by using social media, newsletters, and the website.
- Attract new members: Advertising or simply adding that your credit union has certified financial counselors to your list of member benefits may attract new members, especially promoting that this is a free service through the credit union. Partner with community agencies such as United Way, Metropolitan Ministries, and neighborhood housing programs to bring the counselors to their clients on a regular basis or to start a community financial literacy program. You can also work with high schools and colleges to offer money management sessions for students just starting out or just getting their first job. Building the relationship early bonds the teen to the credit union for life. Another possibility is to offer scholarships related to the financial counseling workshops.
- Grow product and service revenue: Possibly add checking programs for members with lower credit scores who may not qualify for a traditional checking. One possible requirement could be that they complete a designated number of counseling sessions or workshops. The same could be considered with a higher risk loan or a loan to start building credit.
- Reduce delinquencies and charge-offs: Obviously, assisting members in getting out of the debt/past due cycle will help in reducing delinquencies but will also gain trust and loyalty.
Please click here for more detailed information and to register. Space is limited to 50 individuals so be sure to reserve your spot soon. If you have already emailed Juli Lewis, director, Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, a list of names, please still have them register through the link. Locations for the two face-to-face meetings/group testing will be announced after registration is complete. If your credit union is registering a large group, we may be able to make special accommodations. If you cannot make a face-to face meeting/testing, we will make other arrangements for you.
The orientation webinar is May 22, so please register by May 7 to ensure your materials are on time.
Still not sure? We know that FiCEP benefits employees and is a feather in their cap. Watch CUNA’s new VIDEO to see how this training ultimately benefits your members.