Birchview Elementary opens Hematite Credit Union

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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - Birchview Elementary students are getting a jump start on learning how to save money. They've officially opened Hematite Credit Union.

With the help of Honor Credit Union, fourth grade students get to run the business and teach others how to save.

"Each account that's open at the student credit union is an actual account at Honor Credit Union, so parents are able to show their kids how much money they have," says Jamie Gollakner, Negaunee Branch Manager at Honor Credit Union.

It's all modeled after other student credit unions downstate. Students had to fill out an application, undergo an interview, and take a math test to qualify for the position. All students who applied to work with Hematite Credit Union were hired and underwent cash handling training and confidentiality training before their first shifts today.

"They're a teller. They have to count the money before they open their shift and do the deposits and then count the money and balance afterwards," describes Gollakner. "I thought it would be a fun idea to do, and it's fun to help others," says Brittanie Piotrowski, a fourth grader who's working at Hematite Credit Union.

Every other Wednesday, Hematite Credit Union is open from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Any student who wants to deposit money can go during those hours. Parents can also deposit money into the accounts at Honor Credit Union.

"I think it's really fun when you deposit things because you have to strip it apart and it's yellow and you give it to the person who you're depositing it to, and it was fun because it printed off of it and I was excited because I didn't know. I was surprised," says fourth grader Ava Jo Hares, who worked her first shift today.

Students are even rewarded for using the credit union. Each time they deposit money, they're entered into a monthly drawing and a grand prize drawing for an iPad Mini.

Hematite Credit Union is the first student credit union associated with Honor Credit Union in the Upper Peninsula. They hope to expand to other elementary, middle and high schools in the future.

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