Name, Title & Organization you are representing:
Rick Katschke, Digital Influence Manager, Educators Credit Union
One song you can’t stop listening to:
I’ve been listening to Peshtigo’s “Your Eyes Look Like the Stars” at least once a week for five or six years now. I’m still waiting for a full album from Peshtigo, but in the meantime, I can’t recommend this song enough.
What are you most passionate about in regards to what is happening in our community and what is ECU doing for the community?
As a credit union, our biggest passion is empowering people with the knowledge to help tackle their finances. A lot of people just aren’t comfortable going into financial institutions because they worry about feeling like they’re being judged or that they going to understand all the details of their financial situation. Our approach is to educate and advise our members, so we offer things like What’s Your Score?, our free service where we pull an individual’s credit report and provide advice on how to establish, protect or improve their credit score. We pride ourselves on never using jargon with our members, we explain everything in as much relatable detail as possible.
We also want to introduce financial literacy sooner rather than later, so we partner with schools to offer financial programs like Everfi and Banzai for free. We also volunteer all school year at Junior Achievement in both their JA BizTown as well as JA Financial Park. Our signature program that we offer for high school students is called “Reality Check Day”.
Before Reality Check Days, we learn what students are interested in pursuing a career in and then find the average yearly salary for that position in Southeastern Wisconsin. On the day of the event, they are given a monthly paycheck based on their choice of profession and also randomly assigned a credit score as well as their status of being single, married, divorced and whether or not they have kids. They then must figure out things like housing, car payments, insurance, groceries and more to make their monthly pay balance out. For a lot of students, this is a real eye-opener because they realize all the expenses that happen every month, some struggle to make their budget work but this way they are experiencing it in a practice setting and hopefully learning to avoid similar mistakes once they’re in a real world situation. Just writing about it gets me pumped for the next Reality Check Day.
How did ECU get started and what is in store for 2017?
In 1937, the Racine Teachers Association pooled their resources together to form the Racine Teachers Credit Union which then became Educators Credit Union in 1974. Our credit union began with a $5 deposit in 1937 and it is still only $5 to open a Prime Share Savings account. We’ve grown and expanded over the past eighty years, so membership at the credit union is now open to anyone who works or lives in Southeastern Wisconsin.
2017 has been a pretty busy year, we named Linda Hoover as our new President & CEO, opened a new branch in Pleasant Prairie and started offering consolidated & private student loans through LendKey. In celebration of our 80th anniversary, we’re involved in over a hundred community events including Shred Days at our branches, Jazz in the Park and Summer Soulstice.
Since we are a cooperative, one of the things we’re looking forward to is our Loyalty Pay Back Reward at the end of November when we return money to our members. The past couple of years, this reward has been right around $2 million that is distributed based on the number of loyalty services with the credit union. Before I started working at the credit union, I had never heard of a financial institution giving money back to its customers, so that is definitely one of the coolest things we do to reward our members.
Why do you choose to support 88Nine?
Like Radio Milwaukee, we are a member-driven organization committed to giving back to Southeastern Wisconsin. We share a lot of the same values when it comes to engaging with our membership and providing educational opportunities. In fact, that overlapped a couple of years ago as we worked with the station & True Skool after the Rhythm Lab Microfest to do a session for students on how musicians and performers manage their finances. We’ve also been honored to partner up with 88Nine for last month’s Block Party as well as the Fall Ball.