UVa credit union opens fourth student-run branch
The University of Virginia Community Credit Union has opened its fourth student-run branch, a location at Charlottesville High School.
The branch, Knights United, will service the students, faculty and staff of CHS and is part of an effort to help students gain practical money skills.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Charlottesville Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins said the branch is one of the finest examples of a public-private partnership.
“The presence of an operational credit union branch in our high school, on our high school campus, helps fulfill many of the educational objectives that we have long held true to,” she said.
“It supports the state’s goals and required course in personal finance and economics, but beyond the state’s curriculum, this credit union will facilitate financial literacy and offer meaningful hands-on learning opportunities for all of our students.”
Students can open and maintain accounts and attend free financial education seminars conducted by the credit union. They’ll also have the opportunity to learn about banking-industry careers by working at the school branch and participating in related classroom projects.
The branch will be staffed by credit union-trained CHS students. Three already have been hired and the branch is looking to hire a fourth.
Lukas Houpt, a rising senior, said that after his first few teller training sessions he realized his personal attributes, including his enjoyment of math, fit well with the position.
“I became particularity enthusiastic about this position when I learned that the University of Virginia Credit Union wouldn’t really make that much of a profit off of this student-run branch,” he said. “That really wasn’t the reason why they opened the student branch, but this was really valuing the actual financial literature that the students and community
would be gaining over the profit of the credit union.”
Catie Claire Smith, another rising senior, said she thought it would be a really good opportunity to get job experience.
“It’s really convenient to get work experiences within my school environment, and it just sounded exciting,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to learn more about money, so I liked the idea.”
For Soyata Subba, a rising junior, this will be her first job.
“It’s crazy learning about money. It’s such a professional job, and getting it was such a great opportunity,” she said.
The first UVa credit union student-run branch opened in 2008 as Lion Nation in Louisa County High School, followed by Patriot Pride in Albemarle High School in 2010 and PVCC Campus Branch at Piedmont Virginia Community College in 2015.
CHS Principal Eric Irizarry said that now, more than ever, students are going to have to understand the financial system and that some of the decisions they make now and right after graduation will impact their futures.
“Buying a car, credit cards, paying for college — those are important items that our students need to realize what the impact would be further on down the road,” he said. “Having the credit union here is going to enable our students to understand personal finance, the importance of personal finance and, for some of our lucky students, participating as a teller in the program, it’s going to allow them to get some real-world job experience right here at the high school.”
Members who join the credit union and open an account at the Knights United branch will have access to all credit union products and services at any branch location, online and with their phone app.