Bank opens branch in Westborough High School
By Zenya Molnar, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Central One Federal Credit Union recently celebrated the grand opening of their newest branch in Westborough High School. With the cutting of the ribbon, the Credit Union opened their second high school bank after a branch in Shrewsbury High School was created four years ago.
David L’Ecuyer, the president and CEO of Central One Federal Credit Union, said, “We believe in investing in young people.” The new branch, he added, provides an “unbelievable opportunity to be prepared before going out in the community.”
Central One has a vision of putting a high school branch in a community that already has a retail branch and providing schools with a financial literacy program, called the “Road to Financial Independence.” According to L’Ecuyer, students are trained in the main branch office and then they work in the school bank. Fellow classmates have the opportunity to do business at the high school bank, such as opening a savings or checking account.
“We think [the financial literacy program] is critical to the success of our young people making tough decisions in a very complex financial world,” L’Ecuyer said in his speech at the branch opening.
The CFO of Central One Federal Credit Union, Michael Rooney, believes that it is their community involvement that differentiates Central One from other banks in the area.
“We think getting kids involved in understanding banking and how a credit union works is key,” he said.
Adhu Krishnan, a senior at Westborough High School and one of the student tellers at the high school bank, said that he is excited to gain more hands-on experience working at the bank.
“It is important that students learn financial responsibility,” he said.
Krishnan, who wants to study marketing, business, and communications in college, will work as a teller at the bank during the lunch period. The other student worker is junior Melanie Bartini.
David Kaiser, the Westborough branch manager of Central One Federal Credit Union, said that “it is an honor” to open the bank at the high school. Kaiser, who has been working with the financial literacy program at the high school for the past four years, explained that the branch opening “allows us to provide one more touch point for the students to get hands-on experience that helps them with their overall financial literacy.” Not only will the tellers learn banking skills, the other students will have “the opportunity to get comfortable doing a transaction at a financial institution while they’re on campus.”
The “Road to Financial Independence” program, which consists of three classes with different themes, is assisted by the management team at Central One. The first class teaches about saving money, the second educates students on all aspects of lending, and the final lesson requires students in teams to present a budget project that they have been working on throughout the program. For the assignment, students are given an occupation and an income, and then they must devise a budget based on expenses such as choosing an apartment, creating a grocery list, and buying a car. According to Kaiser, the team with the most realistic budget is awarded a prize.
“We create a great opportunity for these young people to have a fighting chance when they get out in the community and have to take care of their family with difficult decisions,” L’Ecuyer said.
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