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DETROIT – Michigan First Credit Union is helping elementary students up their financial literacy IQ-one student branch at a time. “The student branch program was designed to teach our young adults the value of saving money and how to manage their own accounts,” said Michigan First CU Student Branch Coordinator Ambreen Akbar. “What better way to introduce our children to money management than in their schools.” First launched in 2001, the program has grown from two schools to now including five in the Southfield School District. Students participating in the program have an opportunity to gain practical experience in the day-to-day running of a credit union. Positions filled range from branch manager and tellers to computer operators, marketing and security guards. On school banking days, which are held on various days each month, students wear vests or Michigan First T-shirts and name badges. Michigan First CU staffers train, supervise and help students learn about the “real world” of finance. “It creates a great touch point for us as an educational-based credit union and parents are also invited to join and get involved with the program,” said Michigan First CU President/CEO Michael D. Poulos. This year alone some 110 elementary students have participated in the student branch and received over $60,000 in deposits and opened over 300 new accounts. Key to the program’s success is building solid educational partnerships with schools within the credit union’s field of membership said Poulos. According to the National Youth Involvement Board any financial literacy effort can only benefit both the credit unions involved while ensuring the younger generation stands on solid financial ground. For the seventh consecutive year Michigan credit unions have educated more students and conducted more financial education presentations than any other state in the country. During the 2004-05 school year, Michigan credit union staffers reached 46,707 students with 2,080 presentations on personal finance. Rounding out the top five states respectively based on number of students reached are: Texas (35,324); Utah (32,016); California (30,199); and Arizona (25,519). Nationally, the NYIB reports that some 616 presenters reached 256,969 students with 8,458 presentations during the 2004-05 school year.

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