Source: Sherman Publications

Credit union-schools program recognized
CBCCU-Brandon Schools celebrate 20 years of partnership

by David Fleet

October 19, 2011

Some Brandon High School graduates are perhaps a little better off today thanks to the efforts of a local financial institution.

After first opening a student run branch in 1991, the Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union continues to be an advocate of teaching students financial literacy in all seven of the district’s schools. On Oct. 13 that partnership was recognized at Harvey Swanson Elementary School with a certificate of achievement from the Michigan Legislature commending the credit union for their dedication to teaching youth the importance of financial responsibility.

Helen Clemetsen, Harvey-Swanson principal, said the credit union in the school, which students named, “A Lot of Cents Credit Union,” has been a major asset to education.

“In 1991, teacher Linnea Marion who had a fourth/fifth grade class researched the idea of a credit union in the school and we realized it would be a great experience for the students and community. Ultimately, the credit union became a peek into the real world for students—so much so that in 1994 the program was nominated for the Oakland County Outstanding Education Award.”

The program, which is open to fourth grade students, continues to impact the community, added Clemetsen.

“I noticed the students are confident in their roles with the credit union—from manager, to teller, to team member, they are professional about their duties. Students learn how to save money and manage money. Given the rough economic times now for many of their parents and family—this program provides students at a young age the financial clarity to carry on later in life.”

Donna Janiczek, CBCCU-Ortonville manager, estimates the program is one of the longest existing school-credit unions in the state.

“It’s a great way to get students interested in saving money,” she said. “We are there from preschool to high school. Our hope is that when students are older they have already learned about checking accounts, VISA, and loans and we are a trusted partner. Even when they leave the community for college or a job they can stay with us. It’s a whole learning process.”