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Life Simulations Help Employees Understand Families Living in Poverty
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 6:50 AM

GECU Life Simulation

379 GECU employees experience life simulations in 2017

What is it like to struggle day in and day out to make ends meet? How can we help families overcome that struggle?

Those are the questions answered by the 379 GECU employees—nearly 50 percent of all GECU employees—who participated in the National Credit Union Foundation’s Life Simulations this year. The Life Simulation is not a game; it is a three-hour activity in the simulated month of four 15-minute weeks.

GECU, El Paso’s largest locally owned credit union, implemented the life simulations to bring more awareness and create empathy for the different life situations credit union members face every day.

“A Life Simulation is designed to help credit union professionals understand the emotional and financial issues connected to managing money,” said Lois Kitsch, national program director at the National Credit Union Foundation. “The program sensitizes credit union professionals to respond to members with empathy while finding solutions that best meet the needs of the member and the credit union.”

Life SimulationGECU’s Community Development Department facilitated the NCUF Life Simulations.

“Our people helping people philosophy is put to work every day and the Life Simulations help to create empathy for members’ day-to-day lives," said GECU President and CEO Crystal Long. "GECU provides free financial education and has numerous products and services that are intended to help families that are underserved and unbanked in our community.”

Employee feedback spoke volumes and included memorable comments like:

“A helping hand can be the difference a member needs to believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow.”

“I was emotionally exhausted. This goes to show that you never know a member’s story when they walk through our doors.”

“When someone shows compassion or charity for someone struggling to make ends meet, it means more than words can express.”

About GECU
GECU is locally owned by over 368,000 members and this year celebrates 85 years of serving the community. GECU has locations throughout El Paso, Socorro, and Horizon City and offers online banking, Mobile Apps and over 32,000 free ATMs as part of its nationwide surcharge-free ATM Co-op network. GECU elevates the community by providing free financial education in schools and citywide while also providing engaging support to community partners like the University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Chihuahuas, the City of El Paso, and many more. With $2.6 billion in assets and 800+ employees, GECU is federally insured by NCUA. Visit for more information on financial education, membership eligibility, branch and ATM locations, and free online banking. For community initiatives and events, visit