Royal Credit Union provides financial literacy program at Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - The Royal Credit Union provides a financial literacy program at the Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility. The class is geared to help the men at CVCTF be prepared for when they’re released from the facility. Over the course of the program, participants learn how to budget, pay bills, and how credit works.

Darrin Cowser is in the Department of Corrections care at CVCTF. He participated and completed the financial literacy instruction program and believes it is a good tool to keep in your back pocket.

“Taking this curriculum gave me a lot of insight on how to budget money and build a credit history so I can have credit,” Cowser said. “Credit is just borrowing money, which I never knew. now I understand that so it will possibly help me make bigger purchases like a home, being a homeowner, and owning a vehicle.”

Brandon Riechers is the CEO and President of RCU. On Wednesday, he saw the class first hand and had a chance to hear what the participants have learned.

“What they’re going to back when they rejoin the community, how it’s impacting how they’ll be able to teach their families, I hear a lot about saving, a lot about how they’re going to be able to read credit card statements, understand what they’re paying interest,” Riechers said. “It’s very rewarding to hear that.”

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld and Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr, were also in attendance for Wednesday’s instruction.

Blumenfeld says it was a touching experience watching the participants learn.

“To see the knowledge that is imparted in these individuals helps build their financial acumen, their financial management, and their financial mindsets so that when they live here they can enter the community on strong legs and set themselves on a path to financial wellness,” Blumenfeld said.

Carr says the most impactful part of the experience for him was hearing the participants talk about how they could use what they learned in the future.

“When I heard how the people who received this educational opportunity felt it was going to help them and their families when they return to their communities, that was heartwarming for me”

Cowser believes this class can be helpful to anyone looking to improve or make better financial choices.

“It can still give you tools to help you to save more money, to actually do something with your money instead of just blowing it on things that you don’t need, but you want,” Cowser said.

Riechers says the financial literacy program got started back in 2015 teaching at the Eau Claire County Jail. Since then, including CVCTF, the Barron and Dunn County jails have implemented the program as well. He says with the data collected so far, the class has had a positive impact on those returning to their communities.

“We have seen some statistics as far as how much that has helped people once they get back into the community, so that’s very positive from that standpoint,” Riechers said.

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