Student-Run Branches Are as Diverse as Students They Serve
Student-run credit union branches allow interns to gain hands-on experience while providing their peers and school staff with convenient access to financial services. According to the NCUA, 339 federally insured credit unions reported they have in-school branches as of August.
These in-school branches tend to share some common features. The interns, typically juniors and seniors, are usually selected from a banking class through a resume and interview process and receive training from the credit union. Additionally, the branches are generally open during school lunch hours and a teacher and credit union employee are always present to supervise the interns, who do not have access to account balances or transaction histories.
Early in the process, the credit union contacted other CUs with student-run branches to find out what it takes to launch one. Ramsey discovered that "it tends to be driven by the school you're in and the relationship you build with the principal and teacher."
"The key is to provide enough planning time up front," he added.
"It's amazing to work with students who are in the same position as I was four years ago," she said. "I always encourage them to continue their education and to push themselves beyond the limit in order to achieve their future goals. When students talk to me they understand that it doesn't matter what your background is-if you set goals for yourself and don't give up, you can achieve them."
Setting goals is important to Cindy Jones, youth marketing manager at First Financial Federal Credit Union of Maryland, which has student-run branches at four Baltimore County high schools. Jones said the students she works with spend a whole day on strategic planning, creating targets for account openings, transactions and product cross-sells. At Chesapeake High School, student tellers in the Bayhawk Branch, the credit union's newest, opened 30 accounts in its first month of operation.