Teen Banking:
Student Banking in School?

The idea of teen banking inside a school may seem odd, but it's catching on. And, we're not just talking about kids' banks where they can get change for the vending machine. These are full-fledged banks that offer services to students and staff - and they are staffed by students.

Wow. Sure, the cynical part of some of us adults can see this as a way for banks to get to customers at a younger age (when they are likely to develop loyalty). But, many of these banks are sponsored by local banks and credit unions - not the big national bank giants. Plus, there are some valuable lessons being learned in student banking including:

  • Teens get to do their teen banking on their terms and their time. Whether it's after second period or before lunch, it is now part of their day the way it is for many adults. Plus, they don't have to feel self-conscious the way they might in "their parents' bank."
  • They get exposure to teen money management principles including opening a bank account, using a checkbook and tracking their money.
  • Teens get an opportunity to work in a bank. Students serve as tellers and get to be involved with money in ways that they can't otherwise. They learn about banking and get to see transactions from a bank's point of view.

There are a number of student-run banks in various states:

  • Delaware's Appoquinimink High School opened a Wilmington Trust branch earlier in March.
  • Knoxville's Carter High School BEST Bank includes two teller stations and customized database software, plus jobs for five students who will earn credit hours for their work.
  • Sacramento's C.K. McClatchy High School opened a branch of Golden 1 Credit Union in late September 2009.
  • Appleton's Jefferson Elementary School opened in February 2010 with this kids' bank following in the footsteps of three area high schools.

While it remains to be seen exactly how successful each of these , and all the others like them will be, I think it is a great step in the right direction get teens and kids introduced to banking on their own terms - and turf. How about you?

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