Inner Lakes Federal Credit Union is looking to do business inside the Dunkirk High School, and with students handling many of the banking transactions.
Inner Lakes' Chief Executive Officer Travis Heiser proposed the initiative to the Dunkirk Schools Board of Education on Thursday at a regular meeting. Heiser told the board the program had been piloted first in Brocton during the 2011-2012 school year, where he said it was very effective and was a learning opportunity for students. "At the end of the year, we were ready to hire one of the girls who worked there," Heiser said, but she was only 17 years old when she graduated, so could not be bonded. "She went on to college, though," he said, and the program is continuing in Brocton this year.
DHS business department chair, Janet Bongiovanni, said she's been working on the idea with Heiser. "This is an opportunity to provide real life experiences to students," Bongiovanni said. "We're also looking to educate students about personal finance," she explained, and said it would provide an avenue to teach about checking, savings and other types of accounts as well as money management.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Travis Heiser met with the Dunkirk Schools Board of Education Thursday evening to outline Inner Lakes Federal Credit Union’s desire to open up inside the high school one day a week, with students conducting bank business.
Heiser said the bank was interested in providing banking services to teachers and students one day a week, from roughly 9 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. "We're flexible about the time," he explained and said the school's pay day would be the best day to open the office in his opinion. While students would be handling transactions, he said the facility would always be staffed with one of his employees.
Bongiovanni explained students would work with other students, and only enter into transactions with teachers if the teachers desired. "They have to sign a confidentiality agreement," she explained, for any teacher who might be uncomfortable with student access to a teacher's banking information.
Heiser also explained the students would not work long hours, but could staff the office during study halls, or other appropriate lab or free time. Students would also obtain real world experience through the application and interview process while working on a volunteer basis.
The job description for student volunteer includes typical work for bank tellers: greeting customers, making deposits and withdrawals on customers request, inspect checks for proper endorsement, process mortgage and other loan payments and balance the cash drawer at the end of a shift. Students may also be involved in creating promotional materials to assist in marketing the credit union at the school. Students in the Brocton program have also contributed to a newsletter which is sent to credit union members outside the school.
Heisner said there would be no cost to the school, but the bank needs a locking office which has access to a telephone line and Internet connection. He said if the board chooses to proceed, the next steps would be to develop a target date for implementation.
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