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May 2011Vol 2, Issue 5
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We can make a difference
Message From
Director of Outreach Services


While sorting through my personal mail at home this past weekend I realized that it is 'Graduation Season.' Honestly, with several graduation announcements in front of me my first thought was 'I didn't budget for this'! That thought quickly morphed into curiosity of how many of our soon-to-be graduates have planned for life after graduation. Have they saved for college? Do they have money to be out on their own? Can they afford the debt that has likely accumulated?  

Every day at MCUCD we're working on programs to help educate Montanans of all ages on how to make smart financial choices - throughout their life. If you know a young person just graduating, now is the perfect time to help him or her to manage money and exercise wise financial decision making. Check out the site - Graduation 2011 - to gather tips for graduates.

I haven't decided yet whether I'll include a copy of the article Smart Uses for Graduation Gift Money with their card. I can just hear the comments...'All I got from the Smith's was a brochure on how to build a budget - really!'  Oh well...I think someday they'll thank us! 



In This Issue
Making a Difference
2011 VITA Results
AmeriCorps Week
May Consumer Topic
Quick Links  

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Making A Difference


Last month at the Montana Credit Union Annual Convention in Missoula, MCUCD announced the winner of its 2011 Philosophy in Action award - McCone County Federal Credit Union in Circle.This credit union is involved in every program we administer - free tax services, matched savings accounts, and consumer education through an ongoing consumer resource center - all to improve the lives of their members.They also are a strong financial contributor to MCUCD. 


McCone County folks (Deanna, Tina, and Jerry) pose with the MCUCD Team

McCone County FCU's Gina Hove (far left), CEO Deanna Brost (third from right), and Board Member Jerry Meissner (center) take a moment to pose with their 2011 Philosophy in Action Award and the MCUCD team members who were actively involved in VITA this year (Aaron Hirsch, Jeanne Saarinen, Thor Kasenko, and Rachael Milne).

That's impressive, but it's their involvement in VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) that stood out to us as exemplifying the credit union Philosophy in Action. Three staff members became certified to prepare taxes for free in Circle (this is impressive given there are a total of nine employees at this credit union!) They also recruited two community members to prepare taxes as well. 


The volunteer tax team of five not only prepared taxes in Circle, but also traveled to a neighboring town to prepare taxes for members of Wolf Point Federal Credit Union. Traveling during the winter months in eastern Montana is no small feat, mind you! One of the volunteers even balanced tax season at the credit union with calving season on the family farm. 


Congratulations to McCone County Federal Credit Union - MCUCD's recipient of the 2011 Philosophy In Action award.It's well deserved! 

VITA 2011 Results


Two VITA volunteers sitting at a desk piled high with tax returns

Mike Enterline and Lyndia Greenwalt (SEG FCU board chair!) were VITA volunteers at SEG Federal Credit Union in Laurel. 2011 was the first year of VITA at SEG FCU. Mike and Lyndia made it a huge success! They prepared 68 tax returns and returned over $83,000 to the Laurel community.

April 15 was a quiet day in the office for the MCUCD tax team. After the past two months of working with our credit union sites and VITA volunteers, we apprehensively welcomed the quiet. While we looked forward to hearing from and talking to our volunteers and site coordinators when they called us with questions or quality reviews, we were excited to have some free time to relish in the accomplishment of the season. So, on that Friday, when the MCUCD office was as quiet as can be, we knew we had survived our busiest and tightest tax year to date.


This year MCUCD supported twenty-four credit union sites all over Montana. Fifty-four volunteers at MCUCD-sponsored VITA sites completed 2,046 tax returns! Volunteers helped bring back $1.9 million dollars in federal refunds to Montanans. And, $510,000 of those refunds were from the Earned Income Credit. Amazing!


Thank you to everyone who supported a VITA site this year. No matter what role you took at a VITA site, your presence was vital in making this year's program a huge success. We're already looking forward to working with you all next year. Have a great summer!

AmeriCorps Week - May 14 - 21, 2011


This week marks the fifth annual AmeriCorps Week, shining the spotlight on AmeriCorps' impact in communities across the country. In today's economic climate, more people than ever are in need of the services that AmeriCorps members provide.


Since 2005, MCUCD has hosted 16 AmeriCorps*VISTA Members. These VISTA Members have dedicated over 25,000 hours working with Montana's credit unions, partner organizations, and volunteers to improve the social and economic well-being of all Montanans. AmeriCorps members have made a tremendous impact allowing MCUCD to extend our outreach and services to Montana consumers.

Aaron Hirsch, Rachael Milne (MCUCD VITA Program Manager) and Thor Kasenko


Here at MCUCD we are proud to be part of AmeriCorps*VISTA Program and grateful for the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done. The VISTAs currently serving at MCUCD include Aaron Hirsch (IDAs) and Thor Kasenko (Billings Outreach). I encourage you to take time this week to thank the VISTA Members you work with!


For many AmeriCorps members, especially young adults facing the toughest prospects for employment, AmeriCorps offers a path to economic opportunity, by providing valuable work experience, career skills, and educational support.  If you know someone who may be interested in serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Member, I encourage you to share with them the opportunities here in Montana - including MCUCD!

Consumer Topic of the Month
CRC GraphicBuilding a Better Credit Report


Credit can be an extremely useful financial tool if used correctly, but many consumers find that their access to credit restricted because of a colorful credit report. 
The only way to repair poor credit is through time, a conscientious effort, and responsible money management.


Visit the Consumer Topic of the Month for more information and resources to understand how you can build a better credit report.