What started as a dream to educate children about banking has grown into a flourishing 25-year partnership between Farmington Public Schools (FPS) and LOC Federal Credit Union.
In 1996, former science teacher and LOC Board Member Gloria Tweedy proposed the East Credit Union elective class. She partnered with LOC to offer a “Banking Day” at East Middle School and designed a class to teach students about saving money.
Students became employees after “interviewing” for teller, branch manager, and member service representative positions. Once a week, the LOC liaison would bring cash for the tellers, and students and staff members came down to the lobby to make real cash deposits and withdrawals.
Now, all FPS middle and elementary schools have student-run credit unions. LOC also operates student-run credit union programs in three Livingston and Oakland County school districts.
When students are not running the credit unions, they learn about marketing the credit union and spend a couple of weeks calling local businesses to ask for donations of items used as game prizes.
“The students that take the class and run the credit union have learned great lessons of leadership, marketing, and money management,” East principal Ken Sanders said in a press release. “Student members have learned about saving, using their accounts for a variety of purposes, from saving for the Washington, DC trip to buying a snack at lunch.”
East Credit Union teacher Dena Shammami Licovski hopes students see the value in real cash-handling skills.
“Even though our society is going digital and electronic in many ways, the basic skill of recognizing the value of the bills and coins, making change for someone, counting out and adding up cash and deposits, subtracting out the withdrawals, and the final step, making sure everything balances out in the end, is so valuable to the students,” she said. “It really teaches them how to think and adds another layer to the money management process.”