Credit Unions in Schools

Establishing a Partnership for Financial Education 

Credit unions across the country are opening branches in elementary, middle and high schools. Referred to as a student credit union, in-school credit union branches, provide a unique and hands-on way for youth to take control of their money and financial future.

Students may be able to open their own savings account to deposit allowances, babysitting money, or earnings from a part-time job all from the convenience of their in-school credit union branch. 

What is a Student-Run Credit Union Program?

A student-run credit union is a credit union branch inside a school. Students are instructed and mentored on how to run the branch. Students who are selected to work at in-school credit union branches gain valuable job skills by, serving as tellers, bookkeepers, computer operators, branch managers, or marketing managers. In addition, students learn about confidentiality, professionalism, behavior in a business environment, and the importance of communication skills.

These programs are often integrated with the school’s financial education activities, money management courses, and (particularly for older children) career development programs. 

Why are School-based Savings Programs Important?

It's never too early to learn smart financial habits. Mastering financial knowledge and gaining financial skills and habits in a hands-on learning environment help students be better prepared to make important financial choices, and participate fully in our economy and our financial system as they enter adulthood.  This capability will contribute to their long-term personal financial well-being and the overall economic strength of the nation.

A recent U.S. Department of the Treasury study evaluated the impact of classroom financial education and access to a school bank or credit union on the financial knowledge, financial attitudes, and use of financial institutions among elementary school students.  Findings from the study showed they had a significant positive impact on students’ perception of savings and use of financial institutions.

How Do I Start an In-school Credit Union Branch?

Setting up an in-school credit union branch is a long-term, financial education initiative for credit unions. It is a cooperative effort between the credit union and school faculty members, administrators, school board members, school district officials, students, and parents.  To learn more about starting an in-school credit union branch, contact your local credit union and school management.

Guidance Encouraging Youth Savings Programs

In February 2015, the National Credit Union Administration and four other federal financial regulatory agencies, issued guidance to encourage federally insured depository institutions to offer youth savings programs to expand the financial capability of young people. The guidance also provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the establishment of these programs.


 Related Resources: 

• Pocket Cents: For Youth
• Pocket Cents: For Teens and Tweens
• Pocket Cents: For Young Adults
• Pocket Cents: For Parents and Educators
• Lesson Plans and Resources
• What is a Credit Union?
• Financial Tools and Resources

Last updated: March 23, 2015