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HomeTown FCU opens Minn.s first student branch
ST. PAUL, Minn. (1/25/12)--Owatonna, Minn.-based HomeTown FCU opened Minnesota's first-of-its-kind student branch and held its grand opening Jan. 18 at Owatonna High School, according to the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).

The first of its kind in Minnesota, HomeTown FCU's student branch celebrated its grand opening at Owatonna (Minn.) High School on Jan. 18. It is operated by (beginning second from left) student Seth Stoykovich, HomeTown FCU manager David Dorsett, and student Abdul Mahamud. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
The credit union worked with teachers, the school board and school administrators for the past five years to make the new student branch a reality. The branch, which opened at the beginning of the school year, is operated by student workers and supervised by a manager at the credit union.

Although the in-school branch opening is a milestone, the more important aspect is the financial literacy teaching tool it provides, said MnCUN.  Marian Murphy, vice president of business growth, and other HomeTown FCU staff gave presentations over the years on financial topics to high school business classes. The branch will add another way for the credit union to make an educational impression.

"We really pushed the financial literacy component when we proposed this idea [for the branch]," said Murphy. "Financial education is not a requirement in Minnesota schools, but just having a student branch can help spark their interest in financial education."

The high school's marketing classes use the branch to create advertising campaigns about the importance of students investing and saving for the future. The school plans for art students to create a concept for a mural outside the branch office to encourage financial literacy.

The branch also promotes a weekly trivia game that offers students a small incentive for stopping by the branch office. "We're training students to come to the branch. If we can get them there, we can talk to them and teach them about what we do," Murphy said.

David Dorsett, the credit union's new youth education supervisor, oversees students' work at the branch and helps lead classes on topics such as saving, budgeting, credit, information security and loan applications. The branch is equipped to handle opening new accounts, processing checking and savings account transactions and providing account maintenance.

The branch is open to students and faculty at the school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. It conducts more than 200 transactions per month, and, depending on demand, may increase its hours later. The credit union also has a long-term goal of having students develop and implement a business plan for the office.


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