ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/11/14)--Credit unions in Minnesota have been at the forefront of introducing student-run credit union branches in schools, a trend growing ever more popular throughout the United States.
That's why it's no surprise representatives of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MCUF) were asked to speak about the in-school operations at the Minnesota Council on Economic Education Conference Aug. 5, which focused on economics and personal financial education.
The conference allowed Kristina Wright, MCUF executive director, to highlight the partnerships that have formed between credit unions and schools throughout the state, as well as to emphasize that opportunities exist for credit unions to help teachers comply with financial education standards.
In May 2013, the state mandated higher standards in financial literacy for all K-12 students with a focus on subjects such as weighing wants and needs, creating budgets, establishing savings goals and understanding the importance of credit.
"Credit unions across the state and across the country are dedicated to educating their members and making them smarter, wiser consumers," said Wright during a breakout session at the conference called "Educational Benefits of Student-Run Credit Unions." The session served as an introductory overview of how student-run branches work.
"Typically, relationships start small--by making connections or through guest-speaking in the classroom--and from there doors naturally begin to open," Wright said.
About 268 credit unions have partnered with local schools throughout the United States to open up in-school student-run branches, according to numbers from the Credit Union National Association.
Five in-school branches have opened in Minnesota schools since 2011 thanks to credit unions in the state, including Home Town CU, Owatonna, Minn., with $113 million in assets; St. Paul (Minn.) FCU, with $130 million in assets; Ideal CU, Woodbury, Minn., with $568 million in assets; and Cook (Minn.) Area CU, with $29 million in assets.
"These credit unions have put forth tremendous effort in implementing their student-run branches, and it's fascinating to see how no two models are exactly like," Wright said. "Their commitment and contributions to their communities will have a lasting impact on students and their families."