Later this week, students at Washington Heights Elementary School will deposit their pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters an even dollars into their accounts at the opening of the school’s credit union branch. The branch, powered by Unity One Credit Union, begins the 2016-17 school year with an official ribbon cutting in Washington Heights Elementary School's newly-constructed school Thursday, October 20 at 11 a.m.
In its 10th year of operation the branch has more than 400 student accounts, and at one time reached $21,000 in student savings. It opens weekly, and is Unity One Credit Union's answer to teaching financial education early. Finance experts say that children that learn to save fare better financially as adults.
Washington Heights principal, Mary Jane Cantu, hopes her students will get into the habit of saving. “Habits are hard to break. We hope saving will be,” she said.
Washington Heights students are involved in the operation of the branch. They serve as tellers—taking in deposits, balancing and encouraging their peers to save.
“Mathematic foundations are being reinforced when the students operate the branch. They have to add and multiply regularly,” said Maria Blanchard, school counselor.
Once students moves on to middle school, they have the option of withdrawing their savings or becoming members of Unity One Credit Union. According to Unity One Branch Manager Cynthia Huerta-Aguirre, the majority of the students open accounts at the credit union because they want to continue to save.
About Unity One Credit Union
Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is one of the oldest in the U.S. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.
Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in St. Paul, Minnesota, Kansas City, Kansas and Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills and Southlake may apply for membership. Unity One CU has eight branches to serve nearly 29,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™