UM5Logo261UMassFiveCUlogoUMass Five: Never too early

When should kids start to learn money smarts? Would you believe … preschool age? UMassFive College Federal Credit Union believes it’s never too early to begin teaching financial literacy.

Recently the children of the Gan Keshet Jewish Community Preschool in Northampton, Mass., visited their local UMassFive branch. They received some teller training at the drive-up window; learned about accounts, loans and debit cards; and were encouraged to save for college.

The coin machine was a big hit with the children, who turned their charity money into a donation to a local food pantry.

UMassFive also has a popular Super Savers Club for school-age kids, who earn stickers and win prizes for reaching their savings goals and avoiding the “Money Gobbler.”



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Naveo: They like bikes

You can get a car loan anywhere, but what if you’d rather ride a bicycle? Naveo Credit Union in Somerville, Mass., has you covered.

The credit union offers bicycle loans for up to $5,000, which borrowers can use to buy not only a bike but accessories such as helmets and child seats. Terms range from six to 36 months, and the interest rate is lower than the standard rate for an unsecured loan.

Naveo’s two branch locations, Somerville and nearby Cambridge, are full of university students, young families and others who like to bike because it saves money and the environment. Naveo’s bicycle loan program is a great example of a credit union being in tune with the needs of its community.



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New Hampshire Federal: Curb service

Drive-up windows are great, but for some transactions, you don’t want to shout into a speaker to be heard.

When a member of the New Hampshire Federal Credit Union in Concord, N.H., was having some temporary mobility issues, sales and service lending representative Jillian Walsh brought a chair and small desk out to the parking lot to help him close his loan from the driver’s seat of his car.

He saved more than $30,000, and she won recognition in the credit union’s quarterly Rock Stars employee awards program. Way to think outside the box – and the teller window!



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Navigant: Beyond the numbers

Robin and Gary Montgomery own Ocean State Embroidery Inc., creating custom-embroidered apparel for show dogs and their handlers. Their three embroidery machines were closing in on 20 years old and desperately needed to be replaced. The couple found some new ones on sale for a great price, but they had to act fast to secure financing before the sale ended.

After being turned down for a loan by two banks, Robin met a lending specialist from Smithfield, R.I.-based Navigant Credit Union, who offered to look over her application.

You probably know how this story ends: Navigant approved the loan, and the Montgomerys bought their new equipment in time to take advantage of the sale.

The moral of the story: Most lenders will look at your credit score, and if it isn’t high enough, no loan for you. Credit unions look beyond the numbers to the people. After all, who’s going to be paying back the loan – you or your credit score?