Hometown CU Opens First Student Branch In Minnesota

Contact: Kelli Baxter
(800) 477-1034, (651) 288-5503

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Hometown Credit Union made a first-of-its-kind move in Minnesota by opening the state’s first student branch. The Owatonna-based credit union recently celebrated the grand opening of its branch in Owatonna High School on Jan. 18.

The credit union has been working with teachers, the school board and school administrators for the past five years to make the student branch a reality. The on-campus branch, which is operated by student workers and supervised by a Hometown Credit Union manager, has been open since the beginning of the school year.

Though the opening of this student branch is a milestone for Hometown Credit Union, the more important aspect is the financial literacy teaching tool the in-school branch provides. Marian Murphy, Vice President of Business Growth at Hometown Credit Union, and other staff members have been involved with the high school for years, giving a variety of presentations on financial topics to high school business classes. However, the new student branch offers other ways for the credit union to make an educational impression.

“We really pushed the financial literacy component when we proposed this idea (for the student credit union branch),” Murphy said. “Financial education is not a requirement in Minnesota schools, but just having a student (credit union) branch can help spark their interest in financial education.”

Murphy explained that the high school’s marketing classes are using the branch as the impetus for creating advertising campaigns about the importance of students investing and saving for the future. There are plans for art students to create a concept for a mural outside the branch office that encourages financial literacy. The branch also promotes a weekly trivia game that offers students a small incentive for stopping by the branch office.

“We’re training students to come to the branch. If we can get them there, we can talk to them and teach them about what we do,” Murphy said. 

As an additional educational resource, Hometown Credit Union created a manager position specifically for the student branch. With the title of Youth Education Supervisor, credit union employee David Dorsett oversees the student workers at the campus branch and helps lead classes at the high school on topics such as saving, budgeting, credit, information security and applying for loans. 

Along with the financial education the in-school branch provides, students also benefit from being able to conduct various types of transactions conveniently. The student branch is equipped to handle opening new accounts, processing checking and savings account transactions and providing account maintenance, just like any other branch.

The branch is available to students and faculty at the school and is open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. daily, allowing students to visit during the school’s four half-hour lunch periods. Currently, the branch conducts a little more than 200 transactions per month and could expand its hours, depending on demand. The youth-run credit union branch also has a long-term goal of having students develop and implement a business plan for the office.

“To have a business and a school partnering to accomplish something is really exciting,” Murphy said. “If you can make yourself available to the teachers, get in their classrooms and show them what you can do for students, credit unions can offer a powerful learning tool.”


The Minnesota Credit Union Network is an organization representingthe state’s 142 not-for-profit cooperative credit unions serving more than 1.5 million member-owners in Minnesota.

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