Wisconsin CU League News Release - 10/19/2010
Students call the shots at 109 credit union branches
inside Wisconsin schools
Pewaukee, Wis. – Students from elementary grades through high
school aren’t waiting for graduation before they begin learning
money management – they’re tackling it now by operating 109
credit union branches inside
Credit unions are cooperatives – financial institutions that exist to serve their member-owners. So instead of striving to maximize profits, credit unions exist exclusively to benefit the members who do business with them.
“The youth-run credit union phenomenon has swept our state for two reasons,” says
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. Because the branches focus primarily on saving, not lending, they don’t drive profits for credit unions. Instead, they’re offered as an investment in youth and the community.
The money the students save comes from allowances or part-time jobs. Some youth branches make small loans to teach responsible use of credit. And most provide students free financial education, either through the branch or in class. All youth-run branches 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.
Development of youth run-branches earned for credit unions a 2009 Governor’s Financial Literacy Award. The trend typifies credit unions’ REAL Solutions initiative, which serves members and communities without regard for profit.
Editor’s Note: The REAL Solutions graphic to accompany this story is posted on www.theleague.coop/multimedia.
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