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Courtney Moran: A Financial Literacy Rock Star
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 7:00 AM

Courtney Moran

Credit Union Magazine recently revealed its 2014 picks of prestigious "Rock Stars" in the credit union community, and our own Courtney Moran was included.

As executive director of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, Moran and her staff train and build networks of financial educators through the Foundation FOCUS financial education initiative. FOCUS brings together credit union officials, nonprofits, government agencies, churches, teachers, and others to improve financial literacy.

"I was incredibly humbled to be chosen as one of the Rock Stars and to be among those chosen this year," Moran says. "I have been in the industry for almost 11 years and am still considered a baby compared to the years served by most CU professionals."

Forging lasting partnerships that guarantee access to financial literacy across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas is Moran's passion. "Building relationships is a win-win for everyone," she says. "It creates community partnership opportunities and increases the value of credit unions to the organizations we partner with."

"We also create partnerships between CUs and local non-profits," Moran adds. "If we have a non-profit that wants a grant for a financial education program, we connect them with a credit union in our network and in their community." She notes that those partnerships always continue beyond the first collaboration via other new projects within both entities, and those relationships continue to be used as resources.

The Foundation FOCUS initiative supports programs that educate school children and adults—including credit union employees—on financial matters. Yet, Moran notes that resistance to teaching financial literacy is a common theme, even for those in the financial services industry. Moran reports that many credit unions purposely stay away from financial education for their employees because they think it's getting too personal or they fail to realize the need right under their noses.

"You'd be surprised how many staff are going to predatory lenders," Moran says. "We spend time training employees how to achieve excellence within their jobs and we cross-train them for other areas, but we fail to make sure employees are confident speaking about money management or even something as simple as balancing one's account."

Moran explains that this is often the problem they encounter with teachers as well. Teachers are required by law to teach financial education; however, they tend to teach the absolute minimum because they themselves do not feel comfortable with their own finances.

Moran, who also conducts "train the trainer" sessions for facilitators, says many credit unions aren't aware that the Foundation can help them create or enhance their financial education programs, and they accomplish that through consulting or grant assistance.

And that includes disaster relief. Moran says too many credit unions are still unaware of the Foundation's disaster relief program, which can assist staffs who have suffered damage as a result of a fire or small storm, not just a natural big disaster.  

"We always want credit unions to know that we are truly here for them and that we will assist in any way we can. We pride ourselves on staying true to our mission of empowering people to improve their financial well-being, and we strive equally hard to assist credit unions in carrying out their mission as well. We are YOUR Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation!" 

Cornerstone CEO Richard Ensweiler said of Moran's recognition: "I am so proud of Courtney—she's a rock star not only to Credit Union Magazine, but to all of us in the Cornerstone region as well. She exemplifies the 'people helping people' philosophy that makes our movement so great, and I am very pleased that her work with FOCUS financial education has been recognized. We encourage more credit unions to take advantage of the financial literacy education that Courtney and the Foundation offer."

The Foundation staff is truly passionate and sincere about the work they do every day, Moran says. "We can honestly say we love our jobs. To be recognized for something that you love and are grateful to have is just icing on the cake. The work I do that Credit Union Magazine recognized has and will always be a group effort; I cannot manage a successful and thriving Foundation without an incredible staff."