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<p>WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Look no further than your local school for the next credit union branch. “Having some level of presence or involvement in the schools benefits students, the credit union and the movement,” said Deer Park, Texas-based Associated Credit Union Marketing Vice President Jennifer Torres. “If you don’t reach out, you are missing out on a great opportunity.” Associated CU has successfully supported its own high school branch and though student-run credit unions have their challenges, Torres encourages credit unions to focus on the rewards . Besides the chance to make a positive difference in a young person’s life, benefits include exposing young people to the credit union difference; adding potential long- term members; and building a positive credit union image in the community. A CUNA informal poll showed that 83% of the participating credit unions agreed that “credit unions should assist high schools in developing student-run credit unions.” So far Michigan and Wisconsin lead with the most number of credit unions assisting with student-run branches-21 and eight respectively. With a focus on educating the youth on the importance of personal financial management, credit unions are positioning themselves as a valuable community resource. Livonia, Michigan-based Community Choice Credit Union has launched a CU at School program and announced the grand opening of two school credit union branches at Botsford Elementary and Grandview Elementary. The CU at School mini-branches are owned and operated completely by trained student members, with supervision by the CCCU staff. Students are part of a team and are designated manager or member service representative. Students not only make regular deposits into savings accounts but also plan special events, drawings and fundraising campaigns. Recently the Grandview Elementary School CU members planned a coin-drive fundraiser called “Pennies for Patients.” Over $1,100 was raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Member One Federal Credit Union has announced it will be opening a student-run branch office within Franklin County High School this upcoming fall term. “We feel that one of our basic tenets is the fostering of financial literacy for our members,” said Member One FCU CEO Dick Williams. “This partnership is a natural fit to help us promote and achieve our financial literacy goals.” Having a student credit union program for elementary schools since 1990 through a business partnership with the Northville School District, Plymouth, Michigan-based Community Federal Credit Union has recently opened its first student credit union at East Middle School in the Plymouth-Canton School District. “We are excited to extend our program from the elementary level to middle school as a way to continue to support our members with their financial education,” said CFCU Business Partnership Coordinator Natalie McLaughlin. “In addition to East Middle School, CFCU’s program now includes eight elementary schools with 180 student employees and nearly 800 savings accounts.” Eleven seventh-graders from the East Middle School’s Life Management class are credit union employees. “The credit union has brought reality to my students,” said Danielle Wren, Life Management teacher/program coordinator. “Our curriculum covers employability, money management and personal finance-all topics that directly relate to the credit union operation.” [email protected]</p>

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