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DuTrac Community CU celebrates successful 1st year of high school branch
DAVENPORT, Iowa (6/16/14)--A little over 203 members. Just $30,000 in deposits. For a financial institution, these numbers don't seem very significant.

But for the Davenport (Iowa) West High School students running this DuTrac Community CU branch, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, the financial lessons learned are incredibly important ( Quad-City Business Journal June 12).

Just ask Jason Norton, senior vice president of marketing and business development for the Dubuque, Iowa-based, $594 million-asset credit union.

"This is meant to be a real-world experience for them," Norton told the Quad-City Business Journal . "It's a real-life branch, not like a dummy system or a limited system. It's actually connected to our larger DuTrac branch, and these students are making real-life financial transactions at the branch."

The goals of this in-school credit union branch, which operates three days a week largely during the school's lunch hours, are to teach students about financial literacy and how to best manage their money, and to provide hands-on opportunities to students to see how credit unions function.

With only four employees, the first in-school branch in Iowa offers students and school staff savings and checking accounts, which are accessible with debit cards.

"I wanted to learn more about how to manage money," Libby Burken, a student and branch employee, told the Quad-City Business Journal. "My mom has always tried to teach it to me, but it never clicked. When I joined this, it helped me learn more about it and it just clicked."

The credit union also offers an online budgeting tool that helps students save toward goals such as a yearbook, class ring or prom dress. Small-dollar loans to help students pay for such items also has been discussed recently.


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