Wisconsin CU League News Release - 10/19/2010
Students call the shots at 109 credit union branches
inside Wisconsin schools
$2 million saved by youth is second fact to celebrate
during International Credit
Union Week, Oct. 17-23
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 Wisconsin
branches now account for 16% of the offices operated by the
state’s 230 credit unions. Their more than 5,600 young savers have
stashed more than $2 million in deposit accounts, or an average of $357
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 Brett
Thompson, President & CEO of The Wisconsin Credit
Union League. “Young people are more committed than ever to
volunteerism and want to use their talents in ways that also benefit
their communities. Second, teachers know that credit unions’
motivation is in people, not profit-making, so they have parlayed their
trust in credit unions as a best practice for schools
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.