SCE FCU Helps SoCal Teenagers Learn Personal Finance Management Skills

Nov 17, 2011 | News & Press

"Mad City Money" is a real-world simulation of financial decision-making and budgeting


Contact: PCGCampbell Kyle Reuter (310) 224-4957 (additional photos below)

IRWINDALE, Calif. (November 17, 2011) – Financial literacy courses are not required for high school graduation in California. To fill this education gap, SCE Federal Credit Union has created and hosted 127 financial literacy workshops and “Mad City Money” simulations in 2011. Through its nonprofit foundation, SCE FCU has helped educate nearly 3,500 15-18 year olds, parents and community members to date.

“Teenagers are on a crash course towards financial risky business,” says SCE Federal Credit Union (SCE FCU) CEO Dennis Huber. “That’s the reason our credit union’s foundation is providing smart money management simulations for California teenagers. We’re teaching financial literacy.

“We aim to teach basic money management skills through hands-on training. Our program helps students form healthy financial practices before going off to college and possibly incurring loans and credit card debt.”  

SCE FCU partners with schools and community organizations to make a variety of financial literacy workshops open to the public. SCE FCU will conduct 10 workshops during December 2011. Abigail Ulm, Manager of Services for the SCE FCU Foundation says, “Our financial education program continues to grow and we’re planning to expand the program in 2012.”

Mad City Money events are three-hour simulations where high school students are assigned a life scenario, complete with career, income, debt and insurance payments – even a spouse and children. Participants receive unexpected windfalls and unplanned expenses, just as in real life. 

Earlier this year, SCE FCU partnered with Boyle Heights Technology Center and Watts Youth Opportunity Movement, two non-profits running a special youth workforce program for 14-21 year olds, to educate them on smart money management skills. More than 140 participants opened a special savings and checking account, which SCE FCU designed with safeguards to avoid overdraft fees as students learn to use their account.

“This is the first time many of our teens have ever earned a paycheck,” said Boyle Heights Technology Center Executive Director Ozzie Lopez. “In the past, many would go straight to the nearest check-cashing store and then the mall. SCE FCU taught them how to save, prioritize needs and wants, which is pointing them in the right direction.”

Today, four states in the U.S. require high school students to take a semester of financial literacy and 16 others require financial literacy training to be incorporated into curriculums; California is not one of them.


SCE Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 and currently has more than 42,000 members, $500 million in assets, several Southern California branch locations, thousands of shared branch locations across the United States and more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs available to members. SCE FCU serves all of Southern California, with membership open to individuals and businesses. SCE FCU is a not-for-profit entity committed to improving the financial well-being of the communities it serves, especially those underserved by mainstream financial institutions. With a strong commitment to volunteerism, employees donate hundreds of hours to local community causes each year. Additionally, the creation of the SCE FCU Foundation provides much-needed financial education to the underserved.

SCE FCU Helps SoCal Teenagers Learn Personal Financial Management Skills (PDF)