Greenwood County School District 50 wants its high school students to practice financial literacy and good spending habits, and the incorporation of a student-run credit union branch inside one of the district’s two high schools is its means of doing so.
Director of Secondary Education Beth Taylor announced the partnership between District 50 and the Greenwood Municipal Federal Credit Union on Monday during a school board meeting. The endeavor will be in the form of The Branch at Greenwood High School, a credit union accessible to students, faculty and staff.
“I think it will give students an opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at banks, lending institutions and credit unions,” Taylor said.
The Branch will promote college and career readiness, and offer course credits to students who aspire to enter into the banking profession.
Youth savings, adult savings, youth checking, adult checking and Christmas club accounts can be opened at the branch. Members can deposit and withdraw monies, and receive debit cards.
District 50’s purchasing department decided to partner with GMFCU after contacting all banks and credit unions in the Greenwood area. A committee assembled by District 50 reviewed the interested institutions’ proposals for wanting to partner, but GMFCU met the standards of what the state requires for banking services to be available inside a high school. GMFCU has committed to decorating and furnishing the credit union.
“They are providing a way to make this happen,” Taylor said.
In the summer of 2020, GMFCU will offer a five-week paid internship so students can continue their training in the banking field beyond the 180 school days permitted by the state. Teachers will be offered the same opportunity, but training will last one week. Students will learn how to handle cash, open accounts and implement growth strategies through a marketing plan that they develop.
“GMFCU wants to help students with their future in making better and wiser decisions as they transition into high school,” GMFCU Marketing Manager Samantha Byrd said. “I think in the future it will help them gain real-life experience in both college and future careers.”
The selection process for students who are interested in the program begins with an interview with Greenwood Municipal Federal Credit Union in the spring of 2020. The chosen students will enroll in the course for the fall or spring semester for the 2020-21 school year.
A teacher chosen by Greenwood High School Principal Chad Evans will facilitate the credit union. The teacher will tour The Branch at Greenville High School and receive training in the summer from GMFCU.
Greenville Senior High School partnered with Greenville Federal Credit Union to create a student-run credit union in their high school in 2016. District 50 toured their facility in fall 2018 and 2019 to get an idea of how a student-run bank in a high school operates.
The credit union will be available during students’ first, second and third lunches. Students will take the course during the third block of their class schedule.
Greenwood High School will serve as the pilot for the 2020-21 school year, but the district is looking to incorporate the course at Emerald High School to begin the 2021-22 school year.
“Our hope is that they will develop some skills that are required in the banking industry and find success in that field,” Taylor said.