Pewaukee, Wis. – When Wisconsin students from the elementary
grades through high school go back to school this fall, they’ll be
learning money management by operating 95 credit union branches inside
Wisconsin schools. Youth-run branches now account for around 18%
of the offices operated by the state’s 212 credit unions. Their
more than 5,500 young savers have stashed close to $3 million in deposit
accounts. That’s up from $2 million just a year ago.
Credit unions are cooperatives – financial institutions that exist
to serve their member-owners. So instead of striving to maximize
profits, credit unions exist to benefit all of the members who each own
“Teachers know that credit unions’ motivation is in people,
not profits, and the trust in credit unions has provided a best practice
for teaching hands-on financial skills in schools statewide,” says
Brett Thompson, President & CEO of The Wisconsin Credit Union
The state Department of Public Instruction has defined competencies for personal finance that students
should acquire by grades 4, 8 and 12. Schools with limited resources
have used credit union support to advance their own financial education
efforts at no additional costs to taxpayers.
All youth-run branches, which are offered as an investment in youth and
the community, are adult supervised and state-regulated. Student
volunteers run the branches to learn leadership skills as well as good
financial habits. Some go on to paid employment with credit unions.