Credit unions in Wisconsin are giving thanks to the state legislature and Gov. Scott Walker for a pair of bills that were signed into law earlier this week.

Both measures passed unanimously and were strongly supported by the Wisconsin Credit Union League and its member credit unions.

The first bill, AB 280/SB 212, requires school boards to adopt financial literacy standards and curriculum for students in grades K-12.

WCUL noted that credit unions have a “longstanding tradition” of supporting, and also “providing meaningful” financial education. For nearly two decades, the league added, credit unions have offered in-school credit union branches, in addition to classroom presentations, free teaching materials, interactive reality fairs and sponsoring teachers’ continued financial learning.

Scott Walker
Gov. Scott Walker signed two credit union-backed bills into law.

Walker also signed AB 283/SB 213, which permits credit unions and other financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings accounts. In these programs, WCUL explained, a consumer makes a deposit into a qualified savings account and in doing so is entered into a prize drawing -- which rewards the individual for saving.

Since 2009, more than $175 million has been saved by 75,000 credit union members nationwide, the league said. More than 80 percent of the people participating nationwide were “financially vulnerable” and accumulated savings of more than $2,400, on average.

“These bills offer new opportunities for Wisconsinites to improve their financial well-being, which is a purpose shared with our 130 state chartered credit unions,” said League president and CEO Brett Thompson. “Wisconsin’s consumers and communities can consider their member-owned, locally-run credit unions dedicated partners in achieving the intent of these forward-thinking laws.”

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