The school store at Edgewood High School in Harford County, Md., now shares its space with APG Federal Credit Union’s first student-run branch. APGFCU, based in Aberdeen, in partnership with the Edgewood High School/Academy of Finance, officially opened the doors of its new Ram Branch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month. It’s the first student-run credit union in Harford County.
Comptroller of Maryland Peter V. R. Franchot, Board of Education of Harford County President Leonard D. Wheeler, Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Tomback, APGFCU Chairman David H. Gilbert and APGFCU President/CEO Don W. Lewis and other Edgewood High and school system staff were on site to celebrate the event.
“The secret to financial literacy is begin when they’re young. With over 17% of our members under age 18, we’re committed to providing financial education to young people,” said Lewis. “The opening of this student-run branch is the realization of a long-term vision. I thank our board of directors and Tina Mike, APGFCU’s assistant vice president of financial education, for their commitment to education and empowerment.”
Under the guidance of academy coordinators and APGFCU representatives, EHS/AOF juniors and seniors will serve as the tellers and run daily operations of the Ram Branch, including opening new checking and savings accounts, making deposits and withdrawals, and transferring money.
When asked why he would like to participate in a student-run credit union, EHS/AOF junior Malik Gilmore said, “I believe it will enhance the student body and the community’s financial literacy. Having this opportunity will give me hands-on experience in an actual business environment, which can be a lucrative investment for my future.”
Classmate Chassidy Cage agreed, “This opportunity helps us gain job experience and everyday skills, like communicating with people and gaining confidence.”
Students were required to apply for the teller positions, interview and attend extensive training provided by APGFCU. They’ll receive experience building skills in finance as well as leadership, management and marketing, which tie back to the core financial classes taught in the AOF. When graduates of the AOF apply for real-world jobs, they’ll be able to use their experience operating a credit union branch.
The RAM Branch will be open 52 days during the school year, for two hours each day, scheduled around the school’s lunch periods.
APG Federal Credit Union has 94,000 members and assets of $876 million. It has a community charter to provide financial services to everyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Harford and Cecil counties. Ten branches are located in Aberdeen, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Amyclae, Bel Air, Edgewood, Elkton, Forest Hill, Havre de Grace, Laurel Bush and North East.