The Iowa Credit Union Foundation has won a grant to set up a program designed to help low-income Iowans develop savings plans. Max Cardenas is president of the consulting firm that’s helping the foundation develop the "The Credit Union Family Partnership Project."
Cardenas says the program will provide an incentive as credit unions match the money families save. He says it could be a one-to-one, two-to-one match or even a four-to-one match. The savings have to come with a specific goal to be eligible for the matching money.
Cardenas says they have to be saving to purchase a home, educational training to get a better paying job, or for a start-up business, or business expansion. Cardenas says families create what are called "Credit Union Individual Development Accounts" that’re designed to teach them how to build their assets.
He says the goal is to fight poverty, and instead of giving them a one-time amount of money, it gives them "tools for self sufficiency." Cardenas says it’s like the old adage, don’t give someone a fish, team them how to fish, so they can support themselves.
Cardenas says the program has proven successful.He says the research shows the program is quite effective at reducing intergenerational poverty as families build long-term assetts. The Credit Union Foundation received a 425-thousand dollar grant from an anonymous foundation to create the pilot program with credit unions in the state.
Cardena says they’ll select the credit unions in the next several months and begin marketing the program to people in their area. Cardenas works for Coopera Consulting, which is working with the Credit Union Foundation to set up the program.