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CU in-school branches growing
LANCASTER, Pa. (7/29/09)--The number of credit union branches in schools is growing, and will likely increase as the recession continues, according to a Pennsylvania newspaper. The Lancaster New Era noted Monday that a Wheatland FCU branch will open in Hempfield High School this fall--the first in Lancaster County, Pa. Though the Wheatland FCU branch is the first in the area, there are many in-school branches in Pennsylvania and other states. Last year, 746 schools in 35 states had in-school credit union branches, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The figure has more than doubled in five years, the newspaper said. Phil Heckman, CUNA director of youth programs, said the increase in school branches correlates with an increase in desire by teachers and schools to teach youth about finances. The growth will continue because the recession has increased concern about savings and debt, he added. In-school branches can be “money losers,” but their goal is to educate community members, Mike Wishnow, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) senior vice president of communications and marketing, told the newspaper. The in-school branches give back to the community because they teach youth about finances. In Pennsylvania, the PCUA gives grants of up to $10,000 to help credit unions set up branches in schools, the newspaper said. Credit unions focus on financial education because they believe that when community members make smart decisions with their money, the credit unions will benefit, Heckman said.
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