REAL Solutions®

The REAL (Relevant, Effective, Asset-Building, Loyalty-Producing) Solutions® program, established by the Filene Research Institute in 2004, provides credit unions access to tested business models and strategies to better reach and serve new (or developing) consumer markets. In 2007, REAL Solutions® became the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

The primary goal of REAL Solutions® is to increase the number of credit unions that attract and serve young adults, immigrants, minorities, disabled citizens, seniors and other low-wage and low-wealth working families. To do so effectively, credit unions must offer attractive products that are mutually beneficial to both the credit union and the consumer.

REAL Solutions® transfers programs, information and skills to senior staff of state credit union leagues/associations. Each REAL Solutions® state program is designed to meet the unique priorities of the league and its credit unions.

When the Credit Union Association of New York signed on to REAL Solutions® in 2007 our partner credit unions met to decide what products would help with New York's underserved markets. Two products prevailed: ScoreRightTM, a credit scoring tool, educates consumers about their score and ways to improve it, while streamlining the scoring process for lenders and the New York PDL (Pay Day Loan) Alternative, which provides low-wealth credit union members with small loans to ease cash flow until their next regularly scheduled paycheck.

For more information about pay day loan alternatives, please visit: http://www.realsolutions.coop/solutions/loans-and-payday-lending/payday-lending

In 2008, the Association took a new approach to REAL Solutions®. Instead of trying to implement a specific program, we worked to help participating credit unions create the framework to reach a specific market, the Hispanic market. Through a partnership with Coopera Consulting, a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League New York's credit unions were given a chance to create the framework to reach this ever growing market through a series a workshops and webinars. The Association continued their partnership with Coopera through 2009, by offering free webinars regarding the Hispanic market, to be used in compliment with the program or for credit unions that are looking into the market.

For more information about Coopera Consulting, please visit: http://www.cooperaconsulting.com/

Building upon the 2008 model, for 2009 the Association partnered with the Filene Research Institute to help credit unions reach the young adult market. Utilizing Filene's CU Tomorrow Program, participants are learning about the business practices, the financial products and the mindset needed to reach this market and stay relevant to them.

For more information about Filene and the CU Tomorrow Program, please visit: http://filene.org/home/research/cutomorrow

Please visit the REAL Solutions® Impact Center at http://realsolutions.coop for more information about REAL Solutions and the various resources to help credit unions reach out, or contact Allison Barna at the Association at (800) 342-9835, ext. 8134 or allison.barna@cuany.org.