If you walk into the school library at Monroe Elementary on Thursdays between 8:40 and 9 a.m., checking out books won’t be the only transaction you will see. UnitedOne Credit Union ( Manitowoc, WI with $147 million in assets) is in its ninth year of overseeing a student run credit union branch at the local elementary school.
Branches that help children learn financial responsibility are opening all over the nation, with nearly 125 in operation today. They are a valuable resource for children since almost half of all parents say they do not set a good example when it comes to handling their own money and are not capable of properly teaching their children (reported in a recent survey commissioned by Northwestern Mutual.)
At the Monroe Elementary branch, a team of 14 student employees make up the operations and marketing teams. “We visit the classrooms at the end of each school year and recruit for next year’s teams,” says Teri Sturm, marketing director. “We then follow up at the beginning of the school year and go through the application process.” For this year’s class 30 students showed interest, 20 applied, and 14 qualified for the positions.
The marketing team strives to achieve two goals: credit union awareness and activity. They meet on a weekly basis to discuss promotional ideas, which include posters, morning announcements, class presentations, and a flyer in the “Friday folder”.
The operations team works at the credit union every Thursday. One of the operations employees from previous years applied for a position at a UnitedOne branch in the community when she turned 16 and remains employed there now while in college. “It’s great to see that the relationship can continue for so many years,” said Sturm.
The Monroe Elementary branch already exceeded its 2005 goal of $2,000 in deposits. The teams set a new goal of $3,000 and passed that goal two weeks before the end of the school year.