Arsenal Credit Union strives to give back to the communities to which we belong.
Corporate responsibility begins with protecting our members' financial interests, but it doesn't end there. As a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative, we are committed to the best and finest interests of our members and to the credit union philosophy of people helping people. We put that philosophy into action with internal programs and services that benefit our members, as well as through fundraisers, drives and other efforts that help local causes and people in need.
In 2014, our employees donated 905 hours toward improving our communities on behalf of the credit union. This was the second year in a row our staff volunteered more than 900 hours in the community. They made more than 3,700 sack lunches for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They organized school supply, food, clothes and toy drives for those less fortunate. They taught young people in the classroom about personal finance – reaching 1,326 students through 79 presentations.
In order to benefit the most people in the most meaningful ways possible, in 2015 we are investing in our community in two specific areas:
Financial literacy and money management skills are needed by all. About 34 percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook; even fewer have explained how credit card interest and fees work. Ninety-three percent of American parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial missteps, such as overspending or living beyond their means (source: Charles Schwab’s 2008 “Parents & Money"). Our goal is to help the young people in our community develop healthy and positive habits with money and avoid the common financial problems that many adults make. We reach hundreds of kids and teens by making classroom presentations based on tried-and-true financial education curricula, as well as participating in "career days" and other local school programs. These efforts coincide with our own financial offerings for our younger members. Our Tracker Kids Club encourages members age 12 and younger to save their money and offers incentives for good grades. We award college scholarships to graduating high school seniors in our membership, with more than $59,000 awarded to date.
Arsenal Credit Union strives to be a good environmental steward. In order to help the community reduce waste, we provide recycling bins for cans and plastic containers at all our locations and assist with the responsible disposal of paper, computer and electronic equipment by holding several free, public "shred days" throughout the year. We continue to revamp our operational processes to use fewer materials, incorporate energy-efficient designs into new branches and recycle as much as possible. In 2014, we added collection bins in some of our branches so that old cellphones could be recycled, too.
In the past, we've focused on helping children and veterans. We have strongly supported Children's Miracle Network, which has two affiliated hospitals in St. Louis, and the Credit Unions for Kids program. We and our employees have participated in numerous fundraisers for CMN, from bowl-a-thons and raffles to dress-down days and bake sales. In addition, we've worked to support veterans' groups and projects throughout the region, sponsoring the National Veterans Golden Age Games and National Veterans Wheelchair Games and providing a wide range of support to the Fisher House at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. We also took an active role in Missouri credit unions' efforts to raise funds and mobilize volunteers for Homes for Our Troops, which built two specially adapted homes in Missouri for wounded veterans at no cost.
We have also given time, treasure and talent to a variety of other local nonprofit organizations in their efforts to better our communities, including Toys for Tots, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Arnold Police Department, the Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation’s Warner’s Warm-up coat drives, the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross and animal rescue groups.
Arsenal’s community partnerships have won us 14 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards from the Missouri Credit Union Association.
The people-helping-people philosophy pervades all aspects of our daily business. We are especially committed to offering programs, products and services that address our members' needs at every age.
We provide debt counseling materials to our members and give them the opportunity to meet with a credit counselor. Five of our branches boast Member Education Centers, which give our members access to unbiased information on a variety of financial topics. We've held member seminars on topics like home and car loans and fraud prevention.
For making "people helping people" an integral part of our everyday operations, we've received eight Louise Herring Awards for Philosophy in Action from MCUA. For our youth and adult financial education efforts, we have been honored with five Alphonse Desjardins Awards from the MCUA.
All of the aforementioned awards, 27 total, were earned at the state level. In 2005, we received national recognition (honorable mention award in the Louise Herring competition) for our Tracker Kids Club program.
Teaching people of all ages about better money management is something we take seriously. That's why Arsenal provides a multitude of articles, videos and other educational materials via a special section on our website, plus a variety of take-one items and other printed resources inside most of our branches.
It's this desire to spread information that has driven us to spend the last three years alone touring 21 St. Louis metro area schools, representing six public districts and two private academies, in a mission to educate students about the importance of financial responsibility. As a result, Arsenal has perennially ranked among the top three credit unions in the state for number of classroom presentations given and students reached, as reported by the National Youth Involvement Board.
Upon request, we are able to enhance any teaching curriculum by providing free classroom materials, such as student workbooks and activities certified by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). We are also able to deploy our experienced youth financial education specialist and certified educator in personal finance (CEPF), Jenny Remes. As a 10-year program veteran, Jenny engages students in the responsibility of budgeting, investing, managing credit and keeping money safe and secure by utilizing presentations that can be customized to grade level, needs and curriculum.
To find out more about Arsenal's free financial education resources, email Jenny Remes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 314.919.1006.
Watch this video slideshow of our employees' social responsibility efforts!
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