For the past four years, the Rural Montana Saves (RMS) program has been helping hardworking individuals and families pursue their dreams of education. RMS is a special matched savings program geared toward families with limited incomes to save for college or job training, while increasing their financial know-how through financial education. Participants who fulfill the program requirements receive $3 in matching funds for each $1 they save, up to $500 to be eligible for the maximum match of $1,500!
As a participating credit union in the program since 2007 the staff at Ravalli County Federal Credit Union in Hamilton have seen first-hand how the RMS program makes a difference in the lives of participants. Nancy Sabo, the RMS contact at Ravalli County FCU, recently shared a success story of a young woman who inititally had 'two false starts' since the beginning of RMS, but is now actively enrolled and doing well.
"When she came in to take her pretest she was visibly stressed and was really down," Nancy reported. But after she had completed her required financial education classes and improved her score on the post test by 20 points, Nancy noticed a dramatic change. "Her whole demeanor has seemed to have changed. She looks more confident and more chipper, every time I see her she looks at me straight in the eyes." Nancy's observation perfectly illustrates how RMS can transform the lives of participants in ways that go far beyond dollars and cents.
Rural Montana Saves is a project of Rural Employment Opportunities (REO), Montana's Credit Unions, Student Assistance Foundation, and Montana State Extension Service. The RMS program is still accepting applications, for more information visit www.montanacreditunions.coop - click on Matched Savings Accounts/IDAs.
This project is funded (in part) under a contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Department.