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May 2012Vol 3, Issue 5
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We can make a difference
Message From MCUCD


In the past weeks, a transformation has swept across Montana, with brighter greens revealing daily, along with the sounds of song birds, and the buzz of few bugs. May marks a turning point, where we can look ahead with excitement, and take time to appreciate the hard work of the past few months.


Looking at my small planters finally showing signs of life, I can't help but be reminded of the great care and planning necessary to nurture development. It is this philosophy, to nurture and encourage well-being, that has so strongly defined my experience with the actions and culture of credit unions.


From my first credit union account opened 6 years ago, I have enjoyed not only the more accessible and affordable member services, but also the availability and willingness to foster my own development and financial planning. Now, working from within, I've seen the commitment found at every level of the credit union movement, from incredible efforts at the credit union level - as exemplified by CEO Sue Smith and Ravalli County FCU, our 2012 Philosophy in Action Award winner-to the great gifts of time and effort made by each volunteer in our VITA program.




In This Issue
Making a Difference
Celebrating VITA Volunteers
May Consumer Topic
Quick Links  


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Making A Difference


2012 Philosophy in Action Award Winner


Last month at the Montana Credit Union Annual Convention in Billings, MCUCD announced the winner of its 2012 Philosophy in Action award - Ravalli County FCU in Hamilton. The credit union was recognized for their role in establishing the Bitterroot Financial Education Coalition.  


Sue Smith poses with Chris Sisco and Tracie Kenyon
Sue Smith (middle) poses with Chris Sisco and Tracie Kenyon after accepting MCUCD's Philosophy in Action Award for Ravalli County FCU

Sue Smith, President of Ravalli County FCU, has been a long-time advocate for financial education. So, it came as no surprise when she initiated conversations among friends, co-workers, community partners, and even a couple competitors about her desire to provide financial education to the local community. After several informal conversations at various community meetings, Sue connected with others who shared the same desire to offer workshops to local consumers. Riding the wave of energy building among the budding collaboration, Sue applied for a Small Credit Union Initiative grant from NCUA to help fund financial education workshops.


Sue's initiative quickly led to 11 community organizations collaborating to form the Bitterroot Financial Education Coalition (BFEC). The Coalition is a partnership of Ravalli County organizations working to improve lives and strengthen their community by providing access to financial education that prepares individuals for life-long success in problem solving, decision making, and personal financial competence. Active members include the local extension service, RC&D, Head Start, Habitat for Humanity, and DA Davidson just to name a few.


With the funding from NCUA, the Coalition offered 3 different financial education series in 2011. Sessions included a 7 week series covering a range of topics from managing money, understanding credit, readiness for retirement and local resources. The second series focused on Estate Planning for Young Families and the third was a three day series dubbed 'Show me the Money.'


The synergy of the Coalition continues to grow with regular monthly member meetings and ongoing local workshops. To celebrate Financial Literacy Month this April, the local radio station ran financial tips each day provided by coalition member.


Ravalli County FCU exemplifies the cooperative spirit of credit unions. In addition to their involvement in the BFEC they are involved in every program administered through MCUCD - free tax services, matched savings accounts, and consumer education through an ongoing consumer resource center - all to improve the lives of their members. 


Congratulations to Ravalli County Federal Credit Union - MCUCD's recipient of the 2012 Philosophy In Action award!

Montana VITA Volunteers - Something to Celebrate


Bozeman VITA Volunteers
Bozeman volunteers enjoying lunch together. L-R: Wendi Castle, IRS SPEC Manager, Rachael Milne, MCUCD VITA Program Manager, VITA Voluneers: Don Mathre, Jack Robbins,
Don Kress, Margrit Firehammer, and Ed Farrell

The tax season has been over for about a month now and MCUCD staff got the opportunity to get out and celebrate the end of season with the VITA volunteers in Bozeman, Butte, and Havre.


Bozeman volunteers celebrated the 332 tax returns they prepared this year. Volunteers from Chester, Havre, Fort Belknap, and Rocky Boy gathered at the HRDC IV meeting room to enjoy lunch together and visit about the tax season and the nearly 300 returns completed in their region. In Butte, volunteers from Anaconda, Butte, Deer Lodge and Dillon had the chance to sit down and reflect on another tax season and the 1260 plus returns they prepared.


2012 VITA Celebration
Left: Havre and Rocky Boy volunteers award Star Perkins, Opportunity Link VITA Coordinator, the "Super Star Award."
Right: Pat Sorich speaks at the Southwest Montana VITA lunch.
Consumer Topic of the Month

Managing Medical Expenses

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Managing medical seems to be a growing concern for many consumers. The Consumer Resource Center's May "Topic of the Month," Managing Medical Expenses, provides information to help

empower your members and community to manage their medical expenses.


Visit our Consumer Resource page to access resources for the current "topic of the month," including a newsletter article, poster, resource guide, featured resource, and the same documents from past months. Use them to educate your members, clients and community on consumer topics that will help them through financial highs and lows!