New Mid Oregon Credit Union Student Branch Opens at La Pine High School
Funded with a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation, the branch will provide students with career training and real-world money management experience.
The newest branch of Mid Oregon Credit Union, based in Bend, Ore., has been open for nearly two weeks, but it’s not a typical branch.
Complete with a teller station, computers, and its own two-person team, the branch was built exclusively for a select group of members: the students and staff at La Pine High School.
This student-run branch is the first of its kind in Central Oregon as part of a partnership between Bend-La Pine Schools and Mid Oregon Credit Union. It was funded with a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.
“The new branch’s goals align exactly with the Foundation’s mission of financial education. We are so pleased to support such a worthwhile project,” said NWCUF Executive Director, Sharee Adkins. “Student branches provide an exceptional opportunity for high school students to increase their financial literacy, while introducing young people to financial services career pathways, and the value of membership in non-profit, cooperative financial institutions.”
The student branch will operate four days each week during lunch breaks with two La Pine High School student tellers. During the summer, both students completed Mid Oregon’s extensive teller training program at the nearby La Pine branch.
“Although this is the first student branch for us in Central Oregon, credit unions have been successfully operating these programs since the 1990s,” says Mid Oregon’s Vice President Marketing, Kyle Frick. “We’re excited to bring this pilot program to La Pine High School and appreciate the support and relationships we are building with students and staff.”
The in-school location accepts student deposits and withdrawals, can open new accounts, and offers a “Hawks Checking” account — a free account with debit cards specifically designed for La Pine High School students. For many students, this account provides them with their first real-world experience managing their own money.
“This opportunity is unlike any other career technical education business program in Central Oregon,” said La Pine High School Business Instructor and Student Branch Advisor, Jeff Baisch.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Mid Oregon Credit Union as our partner. This project would have never been possible without their dedication to the community and to financial education for students.”
Student Eden Stahl said her new position is preparing her for a “future career as a businesswoman.”
“Even if I don’t stay in the banking business, the skills I am learning now will be transferable to many jobs out there in the world.”
Student teller Stephanie Miller agreed.
“My job is helping me prepare for my future as a young adult,” said Miller. “I have learned the responsibility of saving money (and) sticking to a budget.”