The REAL Solutions® program – Relevant, Effective, Asset-building and Loyalty-producing is the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation. The strength of the program is built upon the role each partner brings to the alliance. It’s truly a cooperative collaboration.
There are currently 35 leagues representing 37 states and over 1,100 credit unions participating in REAL Solutions®. Leagues mobilize the cooperative efforts of participating credit unions, enabling a sharing of ideas and best practices to help low-wealth households achieve financial freedom.
The REAL Solutions® approach aligns products and services with the basic needs of low-wealth consumers. Oftentimes traditional credit union products are modified in some way to meet these basic needs. Participating credit unions are often willing to break new ground in their outreach efforts to serve un-banked and under-banked households. Their successes and their lack of successes are shared with their peers, creating a knowledge base from which all can draw.
To learn more about the REAL Solutions® program, contact Lois Kitsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Role of State Leagues and Associations
Coordinating REAL Solutions® efforts via state leagues helps harness the collaboration and cooperative structure of credit unions. Best practices are learned and scale can be gained when innovating new product or service ideas. Leagues can create energy, enthusiasm and a forum to explore the opportunities in serving limited means households.
The Role of Credit Unions
Credit unions can expand their service area and give their members much needed relief when they offer REAL Solutions such as:
- payday lending alternative
- check cashing services
- SAFE accounts
- VITA programs
- asset building products.
The Role of Community Partnerships
Successful outreach strategies by leagues and credit unions can be enhanced by collaborating with local and national community partners. Many prospective partners have served their local communities for decades developing relationships and trust with potential credit union members. These groups understand the local environment and the specific needs of low wage families. Community groups can provide resources for new product development and delivery strategies, new member referrals, matching funds for IDA accounts and countless other ways.
The Role of National Partnerships
Since its inception, the REAL Solutions® program has relied on national and credit union movement partners to expand outreach to credit unions and their members. Coordinating efforts through state leagues and national credit union organizations helps maximize success. The Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group and the Association of American Credit Union Leagues provide forums for best practices and business models to be shared and brought to scale. Working collectively with these and other organizations, the National Credit Union Foundation encourages credit unions to enhance their efforts to serve low wage families. Further, the REAL Solutions® program showcases products, conducts research on relevant topics, documents and measures the level of engagement of leagues and credit unions and the measure the value of services offered to members.