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News Releases

Local Credit Unions Relaunch Financial Reality Fairs for Berks Students

Wyomissing, PA, November 10, 2022 ‒  After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the Greater Reading Reality Fair committee will again host financial reality fairs at high schools throughout Berks County. The dedicated group of volunteers comprised of credit union employees is very excited to provide the hands-on learning experience to juniors and seniors at Wyomissing High School, Tulpehocken High School, Hamburg High School, Schuylkill Valley High School, Muhlenberg High School, Conrad Weiser High School, and Governor Mifflin High School.

To kick off the new series of Financial Reality Fairs, the committee hosted the first in-person fair at Wyomissing High School on November 9, 2022. Students had the opportunity to walk through a real-world exercise in which they could choose a career and salary customized for their geographic area and then create a budget for their monthly expenses. They had to find a place to live, obtain transportation, and pay for food and other essentials. Over a two-hour period, students visited with fair volunteers from local credit unions to “purchase” goods and services needed in everyday life. As in the real world, entertainment opportunities and other non-essential services were also made available to them. Students documented their income and expenses on a budgeting worksheet. As the students wrapped up the exercise, they also got to take a spin on the “Wheel of Reality” to receive one of life’s special surprises like an unexpected cash gift or the expense of a flat tire. For the final step, they met with a Financial Counselor to review their budget and determine if they were able to make ends meet or needed to make adjustments.

Erica Wennell, Greater Reading Reality Committee Chair, shared, “The fair was well received by both faculty and students, and I am so grateful to all of our volunteers from the ten credit unions who participated. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without everyone’s help and support. What makes credit unions so unique is our collaborative nature and how we band together to advance our mission of financial literacy. I’m also grateful to Senator Chris Gebhard and Cross State Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Sue Ward-Diorio for attending the event to support financial education. We look forward to collaborating with the local high schools in the future to give more students the opportunity to learn real-life financial lessons they can carry with them as they go off to college and enter the workforce.”

Participating credit unions included Utilities Employees Credit Union (UECU), Discovery Federal Credit Union, Bellco Federal Credit Union, Diamond Credit Union, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Riverfront Federal Credit Union, Sun Federal Credit Union, Visions Federal Credit Union, Hidden River Credit Union, and Lanco Federal Credit Union.

About the Financial Reality Fair Program

The Financial Reality Fair program is provided by the Cross State Credit Union Foundation and has been correlated to the National Business Education Association Standards for Personal Financial Literacy and PA Academic Standards/PA Standards Aligned System (SAS). The program was created to assist educators and parents in their efforts to teach the vital life-long skill of financial literacy. A Financial Reality Fair provides students with a hands-on budgeting experience to gain practical knowledge about personal financial management in a “real world” environment. The Financial Reality Fair is designed to teach students the value of using money responsibly. This experiential learning exercise has each student choose a career and salary and then budget their money wisely to make ends meet through real-life role-playing events for one month. To learn more, visit https://www.crossstate.org/about/foundation/financial-reality-fairs/.

UECU Raises over $4,000 for the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund

Wyomissing, PA, April 7, 2022 ‒  Utilities Employees Credit Union (UECU) partnered with Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union to raise money for the Worldwide Foundation of Credit Unions’ Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund. UECU and its employees collectively donated $4,167 to the fund, which will help raise money to support the needs of Ukraine’s credit union system and the individuals and families it serves. The fund will also provide aid to Ukrainian citizens experiencing hardships because of the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Over the last four weeks, Vizo Financial and its member credit unions contributed a total of $62,525 to the fund. Including Vizo Financial’s $62,525 donation, the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund has raised more than $850,000, as of April 5, 2022. A portion of that money is being sent to humanitarian aid organizations assisting displaced Ukrainians while the rest will be used for long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts related to Ukraine’s credit union system.

Bret Krevolin, UECU President and CEO, shared, “This is how credit unions help communities locally and globally. We band together to help those in need. We joined our fellow credit unions in raising these donations for the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund to help restore hope and create a lifeline for the people of Ukraine.”

About Utilities Employees Credit Union

UECU, a not-for-profit financial cooperative, has been helping members and their families reach their life-long financial goals for 88 years. Located in Wyomissing, PA, the Credit Union serves its 47,000 members nationwide with convenient online and mobile banking services. Without shareholders or branches to maintain, UECU pays members back with no to low fees, cashback rewards, savings rates consistently higher than the national average, BaZing checking benefits, and affordable rates on loans, credit cards, and mortgages. Lifetime membership benefits include financial education, access to financial and retirement planning services, insurance services, and more. Credit union membership is open to Utility and Energy employees and families nationwide, as well as Pennsylvania residents.

UECU is among the 4% of US credit unions to receive the Best of Bauer Status for having earned BauerFinancial’s 5-Star Rating for financial strength for over 30 years! UECU has also been ranked as one of the top 200 healthiest credit unions in the US by DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about UECU’s exclusive member benefits, explore our website or call 800.288.6423.

About Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union

Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union’s goal is to drive credit union success through proven EXCELLENCE, unmatched EXPERTISE, and engaged PARTNERSHIPS. It is a state-chartered corporate credit union that serves CUSOs, leagues, chapters, and more than 1,200 credit unions in the U.S. and Canada. Vizo Financial provides money management, payments, core processing, and education solutions. For more information, please visit www.vfccu.org.

Utilities Employees Credit Union Celebrates 25 Years of Giving and Donates $37,445 to the United Way of Berks County.

Wyomissing, PA, December 14, 2021 ‒  2021 marked the 25th consecutive year that Utilities Employees Credit Union (UECU) has donated to the United Way, supporting the non-profit’s mission, “United Way of Berks County improves lives by inspiring collaboration, volunteerism, and financial support to build a stronger community.”

The Credit Union’s $37,445 donation will fund United Way initiatives that support individuals and families across the county. Donation dollars will help cover costs for support services for families transitioning out of homelessness, individuals participating in a workforce development program, homebound residents in need of fresh fruit and produce, and families in need of food pantry services. The donation will also help subsidize counseling services for individuals battling depression and anxiety, assist with providing developmental screenings for early intervention and parent education, and provide a night of safe, secure emergency shelter and support services for victims of domestic violence.

UECU and its employees live by the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” Bret Krevolin, President/CEO, shared, “Our employees have given generously and volunteered many hours to give back to the communities we serve. With so many folks falling on hard times these past couple of years, we felt it was more important than ever to support the United Way’s programs that focus on education, financial stability, health, and safety net services. For United Way’s Day of Caring, a group of our employees also volunteered at New Journey Community Outreach in Reading to prepare lunches, package food, and organize the food pantry and clothing donation center.”

The Credit Union makes an annual corporate donation to the United Way and encourages employees to donate a percentage of their pay. Employees who make a donation equal to one day of pay can take advantage of the Give-a-day, Get-a-day incentive and get a certificate for 8 hours of vacation time. The Credit Union also offers a Fair Share reward for employees who donate $5 per week/$260 a year – they get entered into a drawing to win an extra day off. Kaitlin Keck, Business Development Specialist and UECU United Way Committee Chair, shared, “We host a variety of employee fundraising events throughout the year to keep the spirit of giving alive all year long. In 2021, we did food and baked goods sales, a mystery raffle, and a holiday craft auction. The proceeds from these events contribute towards our annual fundraising goal.”

Michael Malone, VP of Lending and UECU United Way Executive Chair, shared, “Our employees give more and more each year, and it is because of their unwavering support that we exceeded our annual fundraising goal.”  

It is not too late to make a donation or volunteer. The United Way of Berks County Volunteer Center has published a helpful holiday guide with volunteer and community involvement opportunities online at uwberks.org. You can participate as an individual or in a group with your friends, family, and co-workers.

About Utilities Employees Credit Union

UECU, a not-for-profit financial cooperative, has been helping members and their families reach their life-long financial goals for 88 years. Located in Wyomissing, PA, the Credit Union serves its 47,000 members nationwide with convenient online and mobile banking services. Without shareholders or branches to maintain, UECU pays members back with no to low fees, cashback rewards, savings rates consistently higher than the national average, BaZing checking benefits, and affordable rates on loans, credit cards, and mortgages. Lifetime membership benefits include financial education, access to financial and retirement planning services, insurance services, and more. Credit union membership is open to Utility and Energy employees and families nationwide, as well as Pennsylvania residents.

UECU is among the 4% of US credit unions to receive the Best of Bauer Status for having earned BauerFinancial’s 5-Star Rating for financial strength for over 30 years! UECU has also been ranked as one of the top 200 healthiest credit unions in the US by DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about UECU’s exclusive member benefits, explore our website or call 800.288.6423.

About United Way of Berks County

United Way of Berks County invests in 80+ community programs centered on education, financial stability, health and safety net services, helping more than 150,000 Berks Countians each year. The organization raises and distributes funds to support a broad range of programs, initiatives and grants to tackle Berks County’s key issues, to improve lives and to create lasting change.