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From the classroom to the bank

Credit union hopes to teach financially responsibility with in-school branch

— A new program at the Ballston Spa Middle School is working to instill financial responsibility at an earlier age.

Through the guidance of employees at TCT Federal Credit Union, students will work to open a branch of the credit union inside the school. Students will run the branch during lunches each week, while their peers will be able to open an account to make real deposits and withdrawals of their money.

“In the past, the parent-teacher association had come in and did banking for the students on an old computer system,” said Co-Principal Richard Ruberti. “This was a few years ago and it didn’t go over so well. Not a lot of students participated then, but this is something different.”

This is the first time TCT Federal Credit Union has put in such a program in a school. The thought was to help provide students with basic financial skills, while becoming more involved in the local community.

“It works two-fold,” said Branch Manager Anthony LaPointe. “We’re creating a savvy consumer at a younger age and teaching those important life skills.”

Twelve students have been selected by school officials to run the branch.

Thought they have already been chosen by the school, LaPointe said the students will also go through an interview process with the credit union. This is to learn more about the students and what they are trying to achieve through the program, as well as to help the students prepare for interviews in their future.

“It’s really to develop their job skills,” explained LaPointe.

The students will then go through training, both informational and hands on, to learn about the importance of privacy for their customers, the difference between a bank and credit union and how to effectively run the branch. A TCT employee will be on hand each week when the branch is open.

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