Once a month, CMCU Branch Manager Malinda Mertz teaches a group of men and women crucial skills they’ll need to be financially self-sufficient. Participants in Mertz’s “How to Spend, How to Borrow, How to Save” class may have lost a job or their home, been through a divorce, suffered from spousal abuse or they may be transitioning from homelessness. They learn the basics of setting a budget, using credit responsibly and saving for future goals. This one-hour seminar is designed to arm participants with the financial know-how to get into (or back into) the workforce and live independently.
Mertz has been teaching financial literacy to women at the Salvation Army Center for Hope and program participants at the Charlotte Area Fund since last October.
Her next class will be Feb. 28. Each class generally has between 10 and 20 students and is part of the Salvation Army’s 30-day “Show Up for Life” program for women in transition.
“Budgeting skills are a critical component in successful financial management, but many people lack the basic knowledge to create and maintain a spending and savings plan,” said Mertz. “As a non-profit organization that believes in the ‘people helping people’ philosophy, Charlotte Metro is providing a foundation for people to build on to help ensure their financial security.”
The partnership between CMCU and the Salvation Army began about 15 years ago through CMCU’s Member Loyalty Ambassador, Shirley Floyd. Last year, the Salvation Army invited CMCU representatives to speak about financial basics to program participants. “Charlotte Metro Credit Union's partnership with the Salvation Army has been remarkable, said Donna Singletery, employment training life coach. “Since the beginning of our partnership in October, there have been approximately 75 to 100 ladies who have been assisted financially. Our ladies have left empowered and inspired to make wise choices, manage and build wealth in healthy ways.”
The Charlotte Area Fund (CAF) provides employment and training services to men and women through its Self Sufficiency Project. For about three decades, CAF has provided financial literacy training to customers to help them achieve financial independence and exert a greater sense of authority over their lives. “The partnership
with CMCU has provided our customers with the ability to make wise, proactive choices regarding their circumstances and future,” said Karen Brackett Browning, executive director. “Upon completion of the financial literacy training conducted jointly by CMCU and CAF, our customers have demonstrated more personal responsibility.”