REGIONAL believes that the best time to learn financial responsibility is while young. Our award-winning Student Credit Union program helps young people learn vital money-management skills, while also giving them a convenient way to deposit and withdraw from their savings accounts right at school.
REGIONAL currently sponsors ten student credit union branches in Northwest Indiana:
Students may open a REGIONAL savings account at the student credit unions with just $1, and make deposits and withdrawals during hours of operation. We emphasize the saving aspect of the student branches, and encourage members to deposit regularly, even in small amounts, and to set short and long-term savings goals. Student Credit Union branches are staffed by student-members from each school; student employees gain experience with cash handling, professionalism and confidentiality.
It's a no-brainer that our youth should learn how to save money for future goals, but what about savings options beyond the standard Mighty Moose or Next Generation savings account? Certificates of Deposit are a great way to earn a high return on savings, but the long-term commitments and standard $1000 minimum opening balance are too steep for most young people.
REGIONAL introduced the Head Start Youth CD to help youth get into long-term saving, with easy terms and low minimums to open.
The Head Start Youth CD is available for REGIONAL members ages 0 through high school graduation, with a low $25 minimum to open, a short 6-month term, a high interest rate, and the ability to deposit to the certificate in $25 increments at any time. Since Head Start is an educational certificate, there are no withdrawals before the CD matures.
By making the Head Start Youth CD available, REGIONAL helps introduce young people to concepts of long-term saving, getting into the habit of saving regularly, and balancing short and long-term goals with regards to funds availability versus higher returns on their money.
Teaching young people to save is a noble goal, but what about the wise use of credit? These days, it's a fact of life-nearly everyone will have to borrow money for something at some point. As with saving money, REGIONAL feels the time to learn how to deal with credit is while our members are still young.
The Power Pay loan is available to Student Credit Union members ages 15-17. Members may borrow up to $300 for 12 months at a low annual percentage rate without a parent to cosign for the loan.
Like our other youth programs, the Power Pay loan has an educational focus. Students must be in good standing at school, and they and a parent must attend a meeting with a REGIONAL loan officer to discuss what credit and interest are, how loans work, and loan repayment terms. By learning how to manage credit now, these students will be in a position to make wise decisions in a few years when the credit card offers start rolling in.
The REGIONAL Student Credit Union program has been recognized with several awards, including the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action and the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award by the Indiana Credit Union League, as well as the Award for Outstanding Service to the Underserved by Credit Union Times magazine.
The program has also received wide coverage in Credit Union Times, Credit Union Magazine, BizVoice, The Times, Calumet Press and the Post-Tribune.