KEARNEY – Fifth-graders at Emerson Elementary in Kearney soon will have a student bank branch that allows them to open a savings account and increase their economic and personal finance literacy.
Kearney Federal Credit Union will open the student branch and host a ribbon cutting at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at Emerson.
The project is the culmination of a yearlong planning process involving Emerson faculty, KFCU and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Center for Economic Education. The branch is modeled after 18 highly successful student branches in the Lincoln and Omaha areas.
“The UNK Center for Economic Education is a proud partner of this collaboration that brings economics and personal finance to life for the students of Emerson Elementary. This project provides them an opportunity to develop basic life skills needed for money management, personal finance and investment,” said Mary Rittenhouse, director of the Center for Economic Education.
The student branch is designed to:
• introduce the economic concept of savings early and reinforce this idea throughout the elementary curriculum;
• demonstrate that saving should be part of a student’s personal finance plan for his or her future; and
• increase parental involvement through savings and banking activity.
The facility will be staffed with a representative from Kearney Federal Credit Union and fifth-grade student tellers. Tellers will be interviewed, selected and trained by teachers and staff of Emerson and KFCU. Targeted savings lessons will be taught by teachers in grades K-5 to prepare students for the branch opening.
“I am very excited to provide the students at Emerson with this wonderful opportunity. It also fosters responsibility and leadership through the fifth-grade tellers,” said Megan Schmidt, principal of Emerson Elementary. “We are hoping to reinforce the lifelong lesson of saving through our curriculum and the partnership with Kearney Federal Credit Union. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for our students and this program.”
Starting Oct. 16, the student branch will open once a week for savings deposits only. Deposits must consist of 50 cents or more. KFCU will match students’ initial deposits up to to help them get their accounts started. Incentives will be provided as the students reach various savings goals.
All students must obtain parental permission to participate. Each year, new fifth-grade students will have the opportunity to be part of the new teller group. The branch will be closed over the summer and reopen during the school year. The students will maintain their accounts for the duration of their time at the school, and can withdrawal the money if they leave the school or graduate from fifth-grade. The goal is that the students become savvy savers and continue to save throughout their lifetime
“One of our core values is to provide financial literacy to the communities we serve. We believe this program has the potential to truly affect the students and their ability to save for the future. We are pleased to partner with UNK and Kearney Public Schools to bring this amazing program to our local students,” said Dee Schriner, president of Kearney Federal Credit Union.
ABOUT KEARNEY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Kearney Federal Credit Union was founded in 1967 on the campus of Kearney State College with fifty-five members. Today the membership has expanded to include anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Buffalo, Dawson, Hall, Kearney or Phelps counties. As a credit union we operate as a not-for-profit financial institution, completely owned by its members. We are structured for the financial benefit of our members, and dedicated to provide financial learning and service to our communities. We take great pride in knowing that each member truly owns a portion of their credit union.
ABOUT UNK CENTER FOR ECONOMIC EDUCATION
The mission of the Center for Economic Education in the Department of Economics at the University of Nebraska Kearney is to promote high quality teaching of economics throughout the south central region of Nebraska.
Contact: Lisa Brass, Kearney Federal Credit Union, 308-234-9311, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Mary Rittenhouse, UNK Department of Economics, 308-865-8707, email@example.com
Contact: Megan Schmidt, Emerson Elementary, 308-698-8270, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORS: Media visits to Emerson Elementary on Oct. 16 for the “ribbon cutting” can be arranged by calling Lisa Brown at 308-698-8273