CalPoly FCU Reports Students Learning From FinEd Content

Imagine this… a low-income credit union with access to over six thousand college-age students, but no financial education materials to share with them. That was the situation that led Barbara Bean, president and CEO of Cal Poly Federal Credit Union, to enter our contest “365-Day Content Adventure Contest” in June, 2015. 

“Even though the It's a Money Thing program is only $500 per month, we didn’t have the funds in our budget to subscribe to the great content. But it’s the perfect complement to our ongoing financial education efforts,” explained Barbara in her contest entry.

It’s a Money Thing is an innovative, proven financial education program that provides customized monthly materials to credit unions explaining key financial concepts young adults are asking about. Credit unions can use the content in any way they like to improve the financial literacy of their members and, over time, add new members to their credit union.

“We knew from our Young & Free program that there was a need among young adults to understand financial concepts and products,” explained Tim McAlpine, creative director and president of Currency Marketing, the company behind the successful program. “It’s a Money Thing directly addresses this gap in young adult education in an engaging, fun and informative way.”

“I LOVE the Content”

With 5 employees, and assets of only $12 million, Cal Poly FCU is, however, strategically positioned to reach California State Polytechnic University’s—Cal Poly Pomona’s—student body of 23,000. Through Cal Poly FCU’s partnership with Cal Poly Pomona’s Orientation Services, the credit union provides financial education to all incoming students (around 6,500 freshman and transfer students annually), and partners with departments, colleges, clubs and residence halls to provide financial education to campus students and Upward Bound (high school) students.

“I really LOVE the content,” Barbara told us, “We truly use something from the downloads most days of the week. A member was in just this afternoon and the FICO video was running in the lobby—he had asked about improving his FICO score and I was able to point right to the video to back up what I was saying. Amazing how believable squirrels are!”

Why Cal Poly FCU Won Financial Education Content For a Year

Judges agreed with Barbara’s entry—Cal Poly FCU’s combination of need and opportunity is one of the reasons the credit union was chosen as a 365-day Content Adventure Contest winner. Barbara explained further, saying “We are the financial education experts on campus and will speak pretty much anytime and anywhere to anyone. We are student centric with most of our members under 25 years old.”

Here is where and how many people they planned to reach with the content:

  • Orientation—Presentations to 200 students at a time, 6,500 annually
  • Resource Fair—One-on-one sessions with incoming students
  • Bronco Fusion—One week prior to school starting, 100+ students
  • Upward Bound—80+ high school program students
  • Residence Advisors Training—40+ advisors
  • Renaissance Scholars—30+ students
  • Clubs and Greek Organizations—100-200 students
  • Lunch & Learn Sessions—(Still to be determined)

How is Cal Poly FCU Doing Today?

Cal Poly FCU is using their customized It’s a Money Thing content in several places—on the credit union’s website, blog, its YouTube channel, Facebook page, in the lobby on TVs, and at financial education presentations with many university students.

Barb’s team promotes the content once it’s posted online, using in-branch signage, Facebook posts, Twitter and banner ads on the credit union’s website’s homepage.

“Downloading [the content] is one click—very easy and quick,” Barb said, “We have videos running back to back in the lobby so our staff have the messages memorized—they love the content and promote it to students as they open new accounts or wait to be served. Staff cannot wait for the next month to see what is new.”

One Surprising Discovery

When asked if Cal Poly FCU had any interesting discoveries to share, Barb told us this: “Our staff have really learned more than I thought—they have become experts on the topics covered so far.” Barb also shared that University staff have commented about how great the material is, and doing more to promote it in their areas.

Cal Poly FCU was one of four winners of our 365-Day Content Adventure contest. We gave four lucky credit unions the chance to reach their young adult members with amazing financial education content free for one year.

For more information about It’s a Money Thing program for your credit union, visit our info page at www.currencymarketing.com/money-thing.


Tim McAlpine is the President and Creative Director of Currency Marketing. He is best known for developing the Young & Free Marketing Program and the It's a Money Thing Financial Education Program that credit unions from around North America are using to connect with new young adult members. He is also the driving force behind CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec competition and a co-founder of the CU Water Cooler.