Featured Grantee: Iowa Credit Union Foundation Employs Credit Union Model to Reach 75 Counties in Iowa
The Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) works with nine credit unions to set up low-income people with Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and provide financial literacy coaching. ICUF has already reached 75 of the 99 counties in Iowa through its credit union partnerships and hopes to reach over 90 counties in the near future by adding more credit unions to the program.
While the partner credit unions are responsible for holding and managing the IDAs, ICUF deals with the overall administration of the IDA program, makes sure that the IDA program is organized in compliance with AFI policy, and otherwise assists in the successful implementation of the program. For example, ICUF provides in-person training to the credit unions as needed regarding financial counseling services. ICUF also provides information on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites to credit unions and encourages credit unions to share that information with members.
Besides the credit unions, the Iowa Credit Union Foundation also partners with a coalition of agencies including Habitat for Humanity and the Iowa Community Action Association (ICAA). This latter organization helps ICUF refer low-income families to partner credit unions.
How do ICUF and ICAA refer low-income families to one of ICUF’s partner credit unions? “It could be as simple as making a phone call at a credit union,” said Marybeth Foster, Executive Director for ICUF. “It can be as formal or informal as [the credit unions] want it to be.” The Iowa Credit Union Foundation recently received a partnership award from the Iowa Community Action Association for work on ICUF’s IDA program. More specifically, ICUF has been recognized for partnering with community action agencies in order to link low-income families to the IDA program.
For more information on ICUF’s credit union model and partnership with community action agencies, please call (800) 860-6180.
This article originally ran in the IDAresources.org Update Newsletter on 07/23/09 and is available for archival purposes.