Financial education is important for everyone, but if you teach it to young students, the lessons they learn will stick with them throughout their lives. Suncoast Credit Union is committed to offering financial education to everyone.

In 2002, Suncoast Credit Union launched its student-run branches in elementary, middle and high schools. There are numerous school branches in Hillsborough County including Brandon High School, Armwood High School, Riverview High School, FishHawk Creek Elementary, Alafia Elementary, Mintz Elementary and Nelson Elementary.

According to Juli Lewis, Youth Marketing Manager, “Suncoast Credit Union employees meet weekly with teachers and students to oversee student-run branches and to offer financial education programs such as Biz Kids, a program focusing on financial and entrepreneurial skills and Financial Football, a fast-paced interactive game that helps teach money management skills, one touchdown at a time.”

In high schools, the branches offer a hands-on experience while providing peers and school staff access to financial services. Students interview for positions including branch manager, teller and membership manager. A bank employee provides training. Lewis said, “Students are required to meet monthly benchmarks and run the day-to-day operations of a credit union in a school environment.” Lewis added, “Since its inception, many of these students have gone on to receive job offers or internships.”

Students who wish to participate fill out an application (if under 18, it must be signed by a parent) and turn it in with a minimum $5 deposit which is matched by the credit union.

When the program started there were four schools. The four were chosen because they housed an “Academy of Finance” program. Thereafter, Suncoast Federal Credit Union partnered with schools whose administration understood the need for financial literacy. “Our most recent launch was at FishHawk Creek in October of 2012. Since its inception, 298 students have saved more than $38,000 simply from depositing at the student-run branch,” added Lewis.

Suncoast Credit Union gives students incentives and giveaways to keep them engaged and to keep them saving.

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