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WHNT News 19

First student-ran credit branch opens in Jackson County

By Mariah Wiggs,


SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) — Redstone Federal Credit Union’s newest branch has opened up in Jackson County. But it’s not your typical location for a bank, as the credit union’s newest branch sits inside Scottsboro High School.

Eight students at Scottsboro High School helped form the 8th Student Branch of the Redstone Federal Credit Union in Alabama.

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A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday morning marking its official opening for students, faculty, and staff at their disposal. Students are able to use the fully operational branch every day during their lunch period.
Scottsboro High School teacher Melinda Sommers and eight students will operate the first Student Branch of the Redstone Federal Credit Union in Jackson County.

The eight student tellers have already been selected and received full training over the summer. Now, they will be able to hold live transactions, process checks, help fellow classmates open accounts, and more.

The seven seniors and one sophomore will continue to learn under the supervision of SHS teacher Malinda Sommers. Throughout the year they’ll gain real-life work experience, improve their financial literacy, and earn money while training.

The branch has been open since the beginning of the school year. Student Teller Jake Benson said it’s a great way to help his classmates learn the importance of financial literacy.

“I really like helping people financially,” said Benson. “Every time someone comes up and they’re like ‘hey, I need help with this or that,’ I’m thrilled to help them out in any way I can.”

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Benson said it’s never too late to learn how to manage your money.

The sophomore of the group, McGowan Holt, is looking forward to growing with the program over the next few years. He told News 19 that the branch has given him a better idea of the type of career path he hopes to pursue.

“Everything I’ve learned here has taught me a lot about the kind of things I want to do when I grow up. The kind of culture that we have here… it’s shown me a lot about the kind of company and the kind of school I want to represent and work for.”

A course in financial literacy will soon be a graduation requirement for Alabama students. A bill passed by Governor Kay Ivey implementing the course will go into effect during the 2024 – 2025 school year. Senior Vice President of the school’s program at Redstone Federal Credit Union Nathan Lombard, said this program can help students excel in the course and in life.

“Because they’re working live, they’re actually getting the behind-the-scenes experience you would at any of our regular branches,” explained Lombard. “We’re teaching them how to process but at the same time we’re giving them the opportunity to learn soft skills like how to have a conversation with an adult, how to maintain confidentiality…things that will help them no matter where they go in their careers.”

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