Maps Wins Award for Financial Literacy Program

May 12, 2015

Salem, Ore. — May 12, 2015 — Maps received a first place honor for community involvement from the Northwest Credit Union Association for a multi-year financial literacy project we have undertaken with Western Oregon University. We want to help our college students develop solid financial habits and avoid graduating with overwhelming debt. 

To help increase financial literacy among college students, Maps began a partnership with Western Oregon University, a college with which we have a long relationship and which many of our staff members have attended. 

WOU selects a team of resident assistants who serve as mentors to the students who live in their residence halls. Our partnership helped include financial education as part of the services those mentors offered. 

The program uses trained volunteer upper-class WOU students to work with freshman students in WOU residence halls on a monthly basis to support student wellness. Maps provided financial support and training to fund the expansion and enhancement of this unique program and incorporate financial wellness. 

Mentors and RAs work closely together in planning programs and addressing community issues. In the partnership with Maps Credit Union, Mentors are provided financial education training, and asked to promote awareness to financial literacy. With this partnership, Mentors are eligible to earn a scholarship through Maps Credit Union. 

To help guide the program, WOU and Maps created this objective: Students graduating from WOU will graduate with the ability to articulate and put into practice foundational financial literacy topics. This will lead to a reduced debt burden through making more informed decisions regarding their finances. 

Program outcomes:

  • 92% of students agreed that “after the financial reality fair, they are able to identify needs and wants”
  • 83% of students stated that this statement applied to them either “mostly” or “a lot” “Because of what I learned in this workshop, I have identified ways that I can save money by reducing my expense or increasing my income”
  • 79% of students stated that based on what they learned they plan to find ways to limit spending and start saving toward my savings goals either often of all of the time.

Judges' comments on the program praised the credit union for its commitment to improving the financial literacy of college students: 

In terms of true meaningful positive community impact, and being connected to mission of being a financial institution, it doesn't get better than this. The effort is completely collaborative, involves students, employees, partners. It directly ties to the function and purpose of a credit union.

Creativity was applied in how delivery of the education AND message could be received in a way that would be meaningful and not cheesy, forced or sales-y.

Much time was spent on an ongoing basis to ensure messages and education were cultivated, cared for, delivered and measured.

Based in Salem, Ore., Maps Credit Union has come a long way since a group of 17 volunteers joined together in 1935, running the credit union out of kitchens and living rooms in homes throughout Marion County. Today, Maps serves nearly 45,000 members in Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties. The credit union has nine branches located in east, west, south and central Salem; Keizer; the Willamette University campus; Monmouth; Woodburn; and Silverton. For more information, visit

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