Brand Story - Through iQ Credit Union’s online education platforms, users learn about money and take charge of their finances.
While there is never a wrong time to start making the right financial decisions, according to Vancouver, Washington-based iQ Credit Union, periods of change like these present a unique opportunity to learn and reevaluate. Through its online learning platform, children and adults take steps toward the ultimate goal of financial well-being.
“There’s no magic amount of money that gives you financial wellness. It is about having an understanding of your money and where it goes,” says Kristi Spurgeon, marketing manager at iQ Credit Union. “Periods of change, when life isn’t running as usual, can be a time when you’re forced to reexamine your priorities and take a closer look at your finances.”
Community-centric iQ Credit Union, founded by school teachers back in 1940, operates on a philosophy that prioritizes education. Until early 2020, iQ ran an active financial education program for students, which involved student-run, fully functional iQ branches on high school campuses. Using curriculum developed with Portland-based Financial Beginnings, the credit union also brought financial education directly to the classroom, reaching over 10,000 students a year, from kindergarten to high school.
Student practices identifying currency.
“For a long time we’ve talked about how we should make this in-person curriculum digital,” Spurgeon explains. “When schools closed it became apparent that we wouldn’t be back in the classroom this year and teachers would be reliant on online education. At the same time, parents were trying to find out how to teach their kids and keep them busy.”
In response, the iQ team spent a few weeks transforming that curriculum into a digital learning platform that offers videos and interactive activities.
“We figured out how to take those same kinds of games we do in person and put them online,” she adds. “I tested some of them on my kids and made changes to the videos based on their feedback.”
Following its smooth April roll-out and positive response from teachers, iQ Credit Union launched its adult learning platform in May. This robust database of educational resources was already scheduled to arrive in 2020 before anyone knew what the year would bring. These tools add to the existing resources already available online: a financial survival guide, budgeting checklist, home buying guide and more.
Tim Walley teaches money basics to kids at Kazoodles in 2019 as part of an ongoing partnership with the toy store.
“We quickly began thinking about how to provide our services to members and keep engaging with the community in a way that keeps everyone as safe as possible,” Spurgeon says.
This extends beyond community engagement to its core services. By the time the stay-at-home orders arrived, iQ Credit Union had already tested out working from home, and nine of its 16 local branches featured drive-ups. After the announcement it provided extended call center hours, offered lobby visits by appointment, lengthened its skip-pay option to 90 days, introduced an emergency relief loan with new terms and shifted to helping clients navigate specific new realities, including securing Payment Protection Program loans.
While business as usual has changed, the path to financial well-being remains the same, and the iQ team knows it starts with understanding money. Through its financial education platforms, iQ Credit Union invites everyone to begin that journey today.n
LEARN MORE: www.iqcu.com/education-programs
Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues. The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.