The coronavirus crisis is stretching into its ninth month — and the pandemic is still weighing heavy on the minds (and pocketbooks) of many Americans.

As difficult as they may be, times like these present an opportunity for financial institutions: this is the time to truly step up to the plate, to serve as a trusted partner and guide for members.

And while hugs, handshakes and in-person seminars seem like a thing of the past, your credit union can still make an impact — particularly through offering financial education. Here are three tips from the team at Zogo:

Don’t limit your focus. Many banks and credit unions partner with schools to provide financial education. It’s important that students have access to this knowledge, and we’re big believers in introducing financial literacy early — but, if possible, don’t limit your efforts to one age group. 

Many of us operate under the assumption that adults can’t benefit much from financial education — but adult financial literacy programs are just as if not more critical than student initiatives. Consider this:

  • Two in three families don’t have an emergency fund,
  • Three in five families don’t keep a budget.
  • Fewer than one in 5 adults feels confident in their ability to save to reach short and long-term goals.

Be sure to include adult members in your financial education initiatives! But first…

Ask questions. What keeps your members up at night? This is the question your organization must answer if you’re going to build a meaningful financial education program that makes a difference in your members’ lives. Whether it be through surveys, research or simply conversations, identifying the financial questions and worries that weigh heavy on your members’ minds will help your team create and fine-tune educational initiatives that make a significant, much-needed impact.

Go digital. Since the pandemic brought in-person relationship building to a screeching halt, the pivot to digital has become critical for credit unions — and will undoubtedly continue to be even after these challenging times have passed. 

Now is the time to bolster your institution (and your team member’s) digital presence. Start conversations online that address the chaos and anxieties of these turbulent times rather than glossing over the fact. Prioritize relationships above all else, and ensure your members feel that they have someone on their side as they navigate the last few months of this difficult year.

It’s cliche but it’s true — these are challenging times. By bolstering your financial education services, you can help give members the tools they need to navigate it.

What has helped you feel empowered financially during the ups and downs of 2020?