LAS VEGAS – Once there were more than 120 student-run credit unions on college campuses, but the number has dwindled to less than 20 and their demise “is troubling,” according to the new head of the CUNA-linked Campus Credit Union Council. “I think there are valuable learning lessons lost on college students because we don’t have those credit unions any longer,” declared Gilbert Niimi, chairman of CCUC and executive vice president of Silver State Schools CU here. Niimi, who was elected CCUC chairman in February, said CUs across the U.S. have emphasized the “student-run” high school branch or CU campus facility staffed by its own personnel with student input, but there has less promotion of the college-run CUs. CUs in college towns, said Niimi, have preferred to simply place branches on campuses rather than devoting their energies to educating students on CU “values and career opportunities.” In Las Vegas, Silver State, he said, is trying to get a student-run CU started at the Community Colleges of Southern Nevada, “and I’m hopeful that will happen” in the future, said Niimi. In the meantime at Community Colleges, Silver State is emphasizing a financial literacy curriculum on budgeting and “everyday finances” instead of the more common approach on how students learn to manage a future business of their own.

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