WICHITA — The Kansas Credit Union Association has created a reality-type TV show along the lines of the "Biggest Loser," but in reality, these contestants could end up being the biggest winners.

The show called, "Money Possible: Destroy Debt Campaign," will air on KAKE-TV, an ABC-affiliated television station based in Wichita. The program will showcase weekly television segments that will follow three families who are members of local credit unions who have decided to deal with their debt and come out fiscally responsible.

"The Money Possible campaign is the first project to come out of KCUA's Innovation Lab, which launched last year," said Melissa Baptista, research and development director at KCUA. "The concepts of financial literacy and member education are both important to credit unions, and we wanted to highlight that credit unions are a smart financial partner."

The segments which began Tuesday, March 4, will air each Tuesday for 16 weeks during the 4 p.m. news. In addition, 15-second "Tip of the Week" spots will air several times a week.

Updates also will be posted on the MoneyPossible.org blog and the campaign can be followed with the #moneypossible hashtag.

The association did a "call for submissions" in December, and received more than 20 applicants. The participants will only use their first names and their respective Wichita credit unions will not be named in the show.

The participants are:

  • Raquel, who is married and a mother of two young children. In her 30s, her goal is to pay down payday loans and learn to save.
  • Lisa and Bryan, who are in their 40s and want to save for retirement. They have three older children. They need to learn to say "no" and live within their means.
  • Fredica, divorced mother of four in her 50s, who wants to control impulse spending, and save enough to buy a house.

The March 18, March 25 and April 1 segments will focus in-depth on each member. The blog will be updated with those segments, as well as more material about the participants. Members will be asked the same questions.
The March 4 questions were: "What was the number one most wasteful item you spend money on" and "What is one small change you have already made?"

"In the spirit of social media, people are living their lives more publicly now," said Susan Dyer, communications director for the KCUA. "People relate to other people, and if they see that someone else was able to pay down loans or cut their debt in half, they may be inspired to do the same. We are using multiple platforms including television, a blog and social media, allowing us to reach farther than just Wichita or Kansas, and keep credit unions top of mind."

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