The school store at Edgewood High School in Harford County, Md., now shares its space with APG Federal Credit Union’s (APGFCU) first student-run branch. APGFCU, in partnership with the Edgewood High School/Academy of Finance (EHS/AOF), officially opened the doors of its new Ram Branch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 2, 2012. It’s the first student-run credit union in Harford County.
Comptroller of Maryland Peter V. R. Franchot, Board of Education of Harford County President Leonard D. Wheeler, Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Tomback, APGFCU Chairman of the Board David H. Gilbert and APGFCU President/CEO Don W. Lewis, among many other Edgewood High and school system staff, were on site to celebrate the event.
“The secret to financial literacy is ‘Begin when they’re young.’ With over 17% of our members under age 18, we’re committed to providing financial education to young people,” said Don W. Lewis, president/CEO of APG Federal Credit Union. “The opening of this student-run branch is the realization of a long-term vision. I thank our board of directors and Tina Mike, APGFCU’s assistant vice president of financial education, for their commitment to education and empowerment.”
Under the guidance of Academy coordinators and APGFCU representatives, EHS/AOF juniors and seniors will serve as the tellers and run daily operations of the Ram Branch, including opening new checking and savings accounts, making deposits and withdrawals, and transferring money.
When asked why he would like to participate in a student-run credit union, EHS/AOF junior Malik Gilmore said, “I believe it will enhance the student body and the community’s financial literacy. Having this opportunity will give me hands-on experience in an actual business environment, which can be a lucrative investment for my future.”
Classmate Chassidy Cage agreed, “This opportunity helps us gain job experience and everyday skills, like communicating with people and gaining confidence.”
Students were required to apply for the teller positions, interview and attend extensive training provided by APGFCU. They’ll receive experience building skills in finance as well as leadership, management and marketing, which tie back to the core financial classes taught in the AOF. When graduates of the AOF apply for real-world jobs, they’ll have the advantage of being able to use their experience operating a fully functioning branch of a credit union.
The RAM Branch will be open 52 days during the school year, for two hours each day, scheduled around the school’s lunch periods.
About Edgewood High School/Academy of Finance
Founded in 1998, Edgewood High School/Academy of Finance (EHS/AOF) is a college-preparatory program, encompassing a partnership between Harford County's financial services industry and Harford County Public Schools. Students gain first-hand experience in the challenging world of finance through core curriculum and experiential learning which results in a paid internship program. The AOF falls under the umbrella of the National Academy of Finance, a nonprofit organization founded in 1989.
About APG Federal Credit Union
APG Federal Credit Union is a leader in developing and providing financial education resources for the continual development of its members and communities. With over 94,000 members and assets of $876 million (12/31/11), APGFCU has a community charter to provide financial services to everyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Harford and Cecil counties. Ten branches are located in Aberdeen, Aberdeen Proving Ground (on Post), Amyclae, Bel Air, Edgewood, Elkton, Forest Hill, Havre de Grace, Laurel Bush, and North East. APGFCU is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative.
APGFCU is committed to building strong families for a stronger community with ten branches in Harford and Cecil counties. For more information, visit APGFCU.com, stop in any branch, or call 410-272-4000, and press four.
APGFCU Chairman of the Board David H. Gilbert, APGFCU President/CEO Don W. Lewis, Edgewood High School Academy of Finance Coordinator Carolyn Kustanbauter, HCPS Supervisor of Business & Technology Education LaVerne Pitts, RAM Branch students, Board of Education of Harford County President Leonard Wheeler, Edgewood High School Principal Larissa Santos
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