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RS League Highlight: MCUN: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs: The Montana Story

RS League Highlight: MCUN: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs: The Montana Story

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Published by REAL Solutions
This highlight describes the efforts of the Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD) and REAL Solutions credit unionsto develop a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for Montana consumers. The interview was conducted with Jeanne Saarinen, MCUCD Executive Director and Robert Coble, MCUCD VITA Program Manager.
This highlight describes the efforts of the Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD) and REAL Solutions credit unionsto develop a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for Montana consumers. The interview was conducted with Jeanne Saarinen, MCUCD Executive Director and Robert Coble, MCUCD VITA Program Manager.

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Published by: REAL Solutions on Oct 15, 2009
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10/14/2009

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LEAGUE PARTNERS
A REAL Solutions\u00ae Program Review
Volunteer Income Tax
TheMontana Story
http://www.mcun.coop
"Through Montana Credit Unions for Community Development and a partnership

These vital programs not only save Montanans dollars, they reinforce that
credit unions are the best option for consumers. The VITA program embodies
so many credit union principles; it's a natural fit for credit unions!"

Tracie Kenyon, President/CEO, Montana Credit Union Network
with NCUF's REAL Solutions\u00ae, we have seen an increase in our free-tax filing services.
Assistance(VITA) Programs:
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs \u2013 The Montana Story
1
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Programs \u2013 the Montana Storyis a
2009 publication of the National Credit Union Foundation\u2019s REAL Solutions\u00ae program.
About the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF)

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) raises charitable funds, runs innovative programs, and
makes impactful grants for America\u2019s credit union movement. NCUF\u2019s mission is to \u201cpromote and
improve consumers\u2019 financial independence through credit unions.\u201dAmong the NCUF programs
achieving this mission:

REAL Solutions\u00ae\u2014 Helping millions of consumers gain access to affordable financial services, achieve
financial literacy, grow savings, build assets, and buy homes.
Development Education\u2014 Leading training on cooperative principles in the modern consumer
marketplace to overcome what credit unions identify as the greatest threat to their future: \u201cthe eroding of
credit union philosophy.\u201d
Social Impact Management\u2014 Meeting a \u201ctriple bottom line\u201d that benefits credit unions, members, and
communities.
About REAL Solutions\u00ae

REAL Solutions\u00ae is the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation. REAL \u2014 \u201cRelevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing\u201d\u2014 Solutions\u00ae works to help credit unions offer a wide range of products and services that have proven successful in serving working families with low wealth and modest means. Using product/business models created and tested by credit unions, REAL Solutions\u00ae disseminates information to credit unions through special meetings, anonline impact center at

realsolutions.coop, and state and national conferences. In the first two years as NCUF\u2019s signature

program, REAL Solutions\u00ae was adopted in 30 states and is saving members tens of millions of dollars. It
has now become a documented business strategy for credit unions to grow their memberships by
serving the underserved. Real people with real needs are finding REAL Solutions\u00ae at credit unions.

About the Author
Jeanne Saarinenis Executive Director of Montana Credit Unions for Community Development

(MCUCD), a nonprofit organization working to foster financial independence for all Montanans. Jeanne and her team work with credit unions across the state to implement empowering programs that improve the social and economic well-being of Montanans.

Jeanne has 20 years of credit union service in Montana, and has been Executive Director of MCUCD
since its inception in 2003. Under her leadership, MCUCD has garnered more than $1 million in grants
and contributions for MCUCD and partner projects, and its programs have reached over 50,000
Montanans.

MCUCD was recently awarded the 2009 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Organization by
the National Credit Union Foundation. This award is given to recognize emerging leaders of the credit
union movement who are blazing new frontiers to make personal financial independence a reality.

For more information, contact:

REAL Solutions\u00ae
c/o National Credit Union Foundation
601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20004-2601
Phone: 800.356.9655, x6770
Email:lkitsch@.ncuf.coop
Fax: 202.638.3912
Web:www.realsolutions.coop

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs \u2013 The Montana Story
2

REAL Solutions\u00ae, the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF),
provides support, tested business models and tools to leagues and credit unions helping them
to provide new and additional financial products and services to families of low-wealth and
modest means. To date, over 700 credit unions in 34 states and 32 state-level trade
associations are actively seeking to reach emerging markets including immigrants, young
people, persons with disabilities and low-wage households.

To bring information to leagues and credit unions in the timeliest fashion, NCUF hosts an online
impact center athttp://realsolutions.coop, full of REAL Solutions\u00ae product innovations, case
studies, and tested business models. Some of our state leagues/associations also feature Web
sites to give their participating credit unions access to the most up-to-date state-specific
information.

This article is the fourth installment in a monthly series of interviews designed to provide REAL
Solutions\u00ae League Liaisons and other league staff up-to-date strategies used by their peers to
grow their REAL Solutions\u00ae efforts. This interview describes the efforts of the Montana Credit
Unions for Community Development (MCUCD) and REAL Solutions credit unions to develop a
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for Montana consumers. Please learn more
from this interview with Jeanne Saarinen, MCUCD Executive Director, and Robert Coble,
MCUCD VITA Program Manager.

1. When did Montana begin participating in the REAL Solutions\u00ae Program?

MCUCD began its formal partnership with REAL Solutions in the summer of 2007, after
attracting sufficient grant funding to support the program. The Kellogg Foundation and
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Montana provided $45,000 to enroll in REAL Solutions
and hire staff, and NeighborWorks Montana provided $20,000 toward a guarantee fund to
reimburse 33% of credit union losses on their payday loan alternative products.

In September 2007, in conjunction with the statewide Annual Montana Credit Union Network
Systems Conference, MCUCD and REAL Solutions field coach Nancy Pierce led the
introductory meeting of Montana\u2019s efforts to combat predatory lending.

\u201cFive of the seven credit unions in my community collaborate to provide VITA sites. It\u2019s a
great gift to the residents of Butte and a marvelous opportunity for us to showcase the
credit union differences \u2013 people helping people, cooperation, and outreach to
underserved.\u201d

Kathy Shea \u2013Montana Credit Union League Board Chairman, and
President/CEO, Heritage FCU

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