St. Paul FCU Kicks off School Year by Opening a Student Branch

Kelli Sandhurst
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Students at Como Park High School in St. Paul will be starting the school year on the right financial foot with the opening of St. Paul Federal Credit Union’s first student-run branch office.

The credit union has worked with the high school’s Academy of Finance program for a number of years helping to teach Como Park students about financial literacy and offer additional business training. The in-school credit union is an extension of the school’s business education program, and the endeavor was borne out of the relationship St. Paul FCU has built with the school’s business teachers and administrators.  

“The credit union believes in teaching youth financial literacy, and we had some key people in the school to make sure that this student branch really flies,” said St. Paul FCU Vice President of Lending & Member Services Mitch Myre, who is part of the team that has helped get the in-school branch established at Como Park High School.  

Three high school students – senior Dylan Schmidt and juniors Tim Smith and Kyle Kottke – will be working as tellers at the in-school branch. They have been training over the summer as interns at St. Paul Federal Credit Union’s main office. The students will be performing all of the functions that a full-time credit union teller would, and the student-run branch will offer the same full range of services a member would see at any branch office, including check cashing, deposits, loan applications and financial assistance.

The student interns were culled from the high school’s business program, said St. Paul FCU President Theresa Malone, because the credit union wanted to staff the branch with students who were interested in business and finance and wanted to be involved in teaching their peers about money management.

“I think a lot of people think ‘spend, spend, spend.’ Not everyone thinks about saving for college or saving for other things,” intern Smith said. “The student branch adds an opportunity to talk about money with other students. We can help explain money [management] to them in a way they can understand.”

The student employees, who will work in rotating shifts, will be managed daily by a supervisor who works at St. Paul FCU. Trevor Malone is officially known as the credit union’s School & Branch Education Coordinator and will oversee operations of the in-school branch, which is open to all students and faculty on weekdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. As an additional educational resource, the credit union’s staff will help in augmenting the school’s business curriculum by assisting in classroom discussions on topics such as the importance of credit and saving, interviewing skills, how to build a resume and other essential topics.

“The biggest positive of the student credit union is we can help educate them. We’re teaching them what checking and credit is, what savings is all about,” Trevor Malone said.  

The concept of in-school credit unions as teaching tools seems to be catching on in Minnesota, with St. Paul FCU’s student branch being the second to open in the state within a year. Hometown Credit Union in Owatonna also opened a student branch in that city’s local high school last school year. Other Minnesota credit unions are currently in the planning stages or beginning discussions about installing student-run branch offices, as well.

“If we are successful here [with St. Paul FCU’s student branch], this could be the catalyst to starting student credit unions in other Minnesota schools,” high school intern Schmidt said.

The Minnesota Credit Union Network is an organization representing the state’s 137 not-for-profit cooperative credit unions serving more than 1.5 million member-owners in Minnesota. For more information, visit

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