Each year, we close our doors for a day to volunteer with local high schools, offering Financial Reality Fairs. Teaching financial literacy to students before they embark on their adult lives helps teens develop awareness and make educated saving and spending decisions. In 2016 we closed on October 10.
BECU's Neighborhood Financial Centers closed, and all BECU employees volunteered at the event – and we do mean all employees, from member consultants to our President and CEO, Benson Porter.
What is Closing for Good?
Closing for Good started in 2015 as a way to celebrate our 80th Anniversary. We closed our branches from 9 am to 1 pm, and sent our employees out to 21 local high schools to do Financial Reality Fairs with over 3,000 students.
It was the biggest embodiment yet of our commitment to the importance of people helping people, a philosophical part of our company's very fabric since opening the doors in 1935.
As a credit union, our mission is to make a difference for our members and communities – helping build solid financial foundations to positively affect all areas of their lives.
Our members have chosen to be part of a credit union because they believe in the credit union cooperative model and mission. We're grateful for their support of initiatives such as this one, which contribute to the well-being of the communities we serve. We believe our members want to work with a financial institution that lives its values and gives back – and Closing for Good is our way of doing just that.
What's happening this year?
We will be announcing our 2017 event in the spring.
What about Financial Reality Fairs for other schools?
Outreach to schools is important to BECU, and we are interested in offering financial education to teens throughout our service area. Last fall, our team of financial educators dedicated over two months of their time to offer BECU's Reality Check, a pared-down version of a financial reality fair, to as many students as possible. We went to high schools all over western Washington and BECU's Reality Check is free for schools.
Why does BECU close?
Nearly 1,500 BECU employees help with the Closing for Good Financial Reality Fair, teaching smart money management by giving high school students real-life budgeting scenarios and helping them work through decisions. When we say it's a company-wide volunteer day, we mean it – it's all hands on deck, and that means we temporarily close our doors to help bring our commitment to financial empowerment to life.
Our thanks are due to our members. Their unwavering support makes incredible community initiatives like this possible. Members can still access services through online banking, our mobile app, and the thousands of ATMs available through BECU and the shared CO-OP network.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Financial Reality Fair?
A Financial Reality Fair is a hands-on learning experience that teaches students to manage money, budget and make smart financial decisions. Each student is given a profile with a job and a set income. Knowing that, students visit booths and make decisions about buying cars, living situations, pets, clothes, electronics and more – all the spending decisions that adults face every day. Financial advisors (in our case, BECU employees) help students balance their budgets and figure out limitations and savings plans.
I would love my teen to attend a similar event. Where do I sign up?
We offer hands-on budgeting simulations at Junior Achievement World in Auburn. These free events happen periodically. Keep an eye out for our next event – we'll post it on our News page.
We also offer budgeting tools, articles, seminars and webinars appropriate for a variety of ages on our website. Take a look and do an activity together as a family.
Why is it called Closing for Good?
The eye-catching name is meant to draw attention to the high-impact volunteer program, encouraging schools to participate.