1st Financial Federal Credit Union Hires Financial Empowerment Specialist

Youth Build

October 7, 20151st Financial Federal Credit Union, a community development not for profit banking institution in St. Louis, MO, has hired a dedicated Financial Empowerment Specialist to work one on one with newly employed youth.

Created as a joint venture with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Education (SLATE), 1st Financial Federal Credit Union has hired Ted Thornton as a full time educator and one on one counselor for thousands of youth, served through the ongoing Summer Youth Jobs program.

Over the last two years, 1st Financial has provided free financial education, checking accounts and debit cards to thousands of youth throughout St. Louis, working together closely to meet the needs of the underserved through various Summer Youth Jobs programs. Since 2014, in partnership with Ms. Tishaura Jones, the St. Louis City Treasurer, the credit union was able to assist with the delivery of financial literacy and products for programs that served youth learning construction trades, creating financial magazines and entering the workforce after recently being released from the prison system. As the program has grown, so has the need for a dedicated Financial Empowerment Specialist to provide more thorough and comprehensive financial literacy training.

While participants have opened 1199 accounts and saved over $40,516.06, there are many more area youth that have not been able to take advantage of these programs.

Michael Holmes, Executive Director of SLATE recently said, “Financial Literacy is an integral part of saving the lives of our young people. When we talk about job stability, pathways to prosperity, and supporting our youth into adulthood; financial literacy is vital!” Holmes went on to say, “Young people deserve an opportunity to open a checking and savings account. Young people deserve an opportunity to build good credit, create banking relationships, and prosper financially. I am happy to partner with an institution that understands the importance and able to provide products and services to meet the needs of this population.”

Ted Thornton, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, has seven years of teaching experience, most recently at Roosevelt High School as a TV and Radio teacher. Before he was hired at 1st Financial, Mr. Thornton worked as a Job Coach for the Urban League of Greater St. Louis.

Mentoring young adults at the Urban League helped Mr. Thornton develop a passion for serving the youth population of St. Louis. “Dealing with young people and speaking to them about financial empowerment is what drew me to this position,” said Mr. Thornton. “I know that young people don’t learn enough of this subject in their regular education and I feel that it is very important for their future success. The more we enlighten our children now, the easier it will be for them to create a better life for themselves.”

“Ted’s extensive background in Education and Community service makes him the perfect addition to our team,” said Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. “I have had the pleasure of watching Ted educate our Youth Build participants at MERS Goodwill as well as our youth at The Urban League through STL Youth Jobs. On both occasions he demonstrated the ability to successfully engage, educate, and build trust with the youth in our community.”

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org.


About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

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