For more information... Lois Kitsch, REAL Solutions National Program Director, at 800.356.9655 x 6770.

Click to go to the REAL Solutions Impact Center

REAL Solutions®

REAL Solutions is the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation. REAL ― “Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing” — Solutions works through state credit union leagues to help credit unions make the difference for members, families and communities.

REAL Solutions builds member and consumer financial capability by offering tools such as an online resource center (, product development, Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP – brought to CUs by the Foundation and CUNA), experiential learning programs (reality fairs, retirement fairs, & life simulations), planning/coaching, and speaking/training. Real people with real needs are finding REAL Solutions at credit unions.

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REAL Solutions in 2013

In 2013, REAL Solutions continues to help credit unions make the difference for members, families and communities by working through state credit union leagues.A few major initiatives include:

Financial Education Data Collection – In 2011, NCUF started surveying credit unions for its 2011 Credit Union Member Education Inventory & the resulting report "Credit Unions: Focused on Financial Capability Across the Nation" clearly demonstrates the great work they do to build member and consumer financial capability through financial education programs. "Credit Unions: Focused on Financial Capability Across the Nation" provides state credit union leagues/associations and the broader credit union movement with fuel for state and national public awareness, advocacy, and related outreach efforts.

FiCEP –REAL Solutions has been working with CUNA, state leagues and credit unions to offer an enhanced FiCEP program (Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program), where CU employees learn how to counsel members to better prepare for their future and assist with financial difficulties. Over the past two years, REAL Solutions has worked with 13 leagues. In 2011, 230 financial counselors completed the REAL Solutions FiCEP program and are now providing services to credit union members. In 2012, expects to have over 300 new students and the program will continue to expand to more states. Click here for more information

Financial Reality Fairs - REAL Solutions continues to champion experiential learning programs such as Reality Fairs, which are interactive financial education programs for high school students. NCUF encourages state leagues and foundations to support state-wide league coordinated programs which increases the number of students that have access to this experience and the number of credit unions who can provide support. In early 2012, NCUF showcased a Reality Fair for a second time to leagues, credit unions and legislators in conjunction with the CUNA GAC.

Students from nearby Roosevelt Senior High School attended the fair and responding to a survey afterwards, left comments such as “it was amazing!” and “credit unions are the place to be!” Post-fair survey responses also indicated that almost 90% of students will start to budget their money every month and 100% of students said it changed the way they will save and spend money.

REAL Solutions is also working on “life simulations” which help credit union professionals, staff and volunteers understand the difficulty of living on minimum wage salaries.

Retirement Fairs - With support from CUNA Mutual Group, REAL Solutions is currently piloting a Retirement Fair. The fair similar to the Reality Fair model, but is designed to assist all ages of adults in the process of retirement planning but is particularly effective for those 50- to 65-years old. It will be holistic in the sense it will focus on both spending and saving strategies to prepare adults for a comfortable retirement. Click here for more information.

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