Tartan High School is the home of Minnesota's first student-run Postal Credit Union.
On Feb. 20, the representatives of the Postal Credit Union (PCU), Tartan students, school faculty and community members gathered to celebrate the opening the PCU Student Credit Union.
This is the third student credit union branch that has opened in a Minnesota high school, but it is the first that will be run by students, said Craig Spreiter, a marketing teacher at the high school.
"I don't think there is another branch that is so student-driven," Spreiter said.
Spreiter dreamed of a student PCU at the high school since he first joined the teaching staff at Tartan. Four years ago, Platinum Bank in Oakdale installed an ATM, which opened the door to pursue bringing an actual branch to the high school.
"These kids are here longer than they are at most places," Spreiter said. "This is a safe environment to teach them how to use an ATM, how not to overdraft and a 'savings first' mentality."
Three Tartan and DECA students are currently employed at the student PCU. The students had to go through nine months of training at other PCU branches. In order to work for the branch, students must be active in the Tartan DECA Program.
"Students started at PCU about a year ago and worked in our branches. They are well-trained," said Alisha Johnson of the PCU. "They (the students) won't just talk about how to open a checking account — they will talk about financial literacy."
Student employees can provide numerous services, including opening checking and savings accounts, accepting deposits and taking loan applications. Students get a free debit card, free online banking and bill pay, free mobile banking, free online statements and free account alerts.
Students have the option of opening a Free Student Checking Account and a Share Savings Account. Once opening a Free Student Checking Account, students are eligible to get a Student Savers CD or a Credit Builder Loan.
The Student Savers CD pays an above-market rate of 2.0 percent and is available to students from 12 to 17 years old.
The Credit Builder Loan of up to $2,500 can be granted to a student. Funds from the loan are placed on hold in the student's savings account. Monthly payments are made to the loan to help build credit. Once the loan is paid off, the funds on hold in the account are released to the student.
The Credit Builder Loan in particular is a product that "introduces students to credit, establishing a credit history and reinforces the importance of maintaining a good credit history," according to the PCU.
Marco Buchmayer, a junior, said he has enjoyed working at a PCU branch, adding that it's "remarkable" that a branch has finally opened at the school.
"To combine work and school correlates well," Buchmayer said. "I've learned things that many kids — and even adults — don't even learn how to do."
Spreiter said that the student employees can do what any bank teller or sales rep at at another PCU branch can do. Student employees will also be traveling to difference classrooms to educate students on financial literacy, Spreiter said.
The Student PCU will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. and Tuesday and Thursdays from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.