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Updated: April 19, 2024

Finance with a friendly face: Meet 'Marty,' a credit union mascot for young savers

Marty the Mountain Image / Courtesy Maine State Credit Union Marty the Mountain is Maine State Credit Union's new mascot for financial literacy.

To give children a head start on saving and managing money, Maine State Credit Union has created a new savings product touted by a mascot named Marty.

Marty, a smiling green mountain topped by a snowy peak, will star in a new booklet, stickers and posters in all of the credit union’s branches to make learning about money management simple and fun for kids.

The launch comes during youth week at the credit union, which overlaps with school vacation week and in the midst of Financial Literacy Month, recognized in the United States since 2003.

The character, whose design was inspired by the credit union’s logo and represents the state of Maine, aims to put youngsters on the path to savings success with their own "Marty Savings" accounts.

“Marty the Mountain was the brainchild of one of our member services representatives in Waterville, Randi Gurski,” said Stephen Wallace, president and CEO of Maine State Credit Union. “Randi noticed that she did not see a lot of kids coming into the branch to make a deposit, nor did she see a lot of youth accounts being open. She spoke with several of our leaders and got the green light to build one.”

Marty’s task: To teach children about setting financial goals, earning money and the importance of saving. Each Marty account comes with a workbook that includes tips, charts and activities for young savers. Children will receive a prize for every five deposits they make, as well as a sticker for each time they come into a branch to make a deposit.

Photo / Courtesy Maine State Credit Union
Randi Gurski

“This account is basic, but fun,” Gurski said. “The aim was to create a product that teaches kids the importance of saving. The development of this product was a collaborative effort. I learned a lot, and if I had not taken the risk, I never would have understood how complex and how many steps it takes to build something like this.”

Jennifer Roper, a spokeswoman for Maine State Credit Union, told Mainebiz that employees of the credit union have been attending literacy fairs and visiting high schools to answer questions and chat with students about budgeting and credit scores.

“Currently, our focus is on helping high school-aged students, but with the introduction of Marty, we hope to expand our reach to include elementary schools in the future,” she said.

'Laying the foundation'

Jake Holmes, director of outreach and financial education at the Maine Credit Union League and a Mainebiz 40 Under 40 honoree in 2022, welcomed the initiative.

File Photo / Tim Greenway
Jake Holmes

"I am thrilled to hear Maine State Credit Union is taking their already-impressive youth financial education outreach efforts to the next level," he said.

"When kids learn about money management at a young age, they are laying the foundation for financial success. hese children are our future community leaders and I'm proud to work with a statewide network of credit unions that recognize the importance of early financial education."

Holmes also noted that the credit union’s approach via fun activities, workbooks and visuals is much more engaging than just lecturing to kids about money.

The initiative comes five years after a financial literacy requirement for Maine school children in grades K-12 took effect. The requirement to teach personal finance via the Maine Learning Results standards applies only to public and private schools with 60% publicly funded students and not to other private schools or homeschooling curricula.

“We support the financial literacy requirement for students,” Wallace told Mainebiz. “Everyone needs to save for their future goals, pay bills and have emergency funds in place. By teaching the fundamentals of budgeting and saving, we are setting these students up for a lifetime of financial success.”

About Maine State Credit Union

Maine State Credit Union has more than $690 million in assets. Founded in 1935, the credit union is owned by more than 3,500 members and is open to all Mainers in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Somerset, Sagadahoc and Waldo counties.

Based on assets of Sept. 30, 2023, Maine State Credit Union is ranked No. 3 among the largest Maine-based credit unions in the 2024 Mainebiz Book of Lists.

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