DAVENPORT, Iowa (9/11/13)--DuTrac Community CU in Dubuque, Iowa, and Davenport West High School have opened Iowa's first in-school credit union in a high school.
The collaborative project will provide students with opportunities to learn how to manage their money and work opportunities in the financial sector.
The Davenport West Falcons Branch, a division of DuTrac Community CU, offers "a career-development opportunity for students who may be interested in working in the financial sector in the future," said Andrew Hawkinson, president/CEO of DuTrac. "Students are working in a professional environment and are expected to meet real-world standards in terms of a dress code, customer service and compliance standards. The branch will also undergo an audit, just like any of our branches."
The branch opened on the first day of school, Aug. 12, with membership open to students and staff members only. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony will be held Thursday. Branch hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday. The branch has 120 members so far.
The branch is staffed by West High School students with the support of a full-time DuTrac employee and the business academy teachers at West High School. It offers a checking account that is accessible only through a debit card, and a savings account.
The credit union is a school-driven program with a focus on financial education for students. "It's important for everyone to learn good money management skills," said Steve Verdon, WHS Business Academy teacher. "It's important for students to learn the difference between the fund balance shown in their checking account and the actual funds available for them to use. For example, insufficient funds charges can mount up quickly."
Another tool that will be available is "Advance," an online budgeting tool that can help students set savings goals for items such as a prom dress, class ring or a yearbook.