WJCC Expands Student-Run Credit Union Program

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James Blair administrative offices
James Blair administrative offices

Next school year, the lunch bell in Williamsburg-James City County high schools will also signal the start of banking hours.

All three of the school division’s high schools are joining BayPort Credit Union’s student-run credit union program. The program was piloted in WJCC last year at Warhill High School, with Jamestown and Lafayette joining for the 2015-16 school year.

The program allows students to open accounts with BayPort Credit Union, and make transactions, including withdrawals up to $20 and deposits, from their high school building. The credit unions are also staffed by high school students, who act as tellers during the hours of operation — usually the length of the day’s lunch period.

Students and staff with current BayPort accounts will be able to access their accounts through the school credit union by filling out an application for additional account access. Individuals opening up new accounts with BayPort will be able to access them normally from normal BayPort branches.

BayPort has presented the program as a way to teach high school students financial literacy and responsibility in a hands-on fashion. Members of the WJCC School Board echoed those sentiments in their support of the plan Aug. 11.

“It’s been a great program [elsewhere], so we’re not just rubber stamping something,” board member Heather Cordasco (Roberts) said.

Student-run credit unions are relatively new to the Historic Triangle. York High School in the York County School Division debuted its first BayPort student-run credit union in September 2014.

The concept of student-run credit unions dates back to the 1980s. More than 1,000 student-run credit unions operate nationwide, and Virginia ranks in the top-three states for active branches.

No timeline has been announced for when the Jamestown and Lafayette branches will become operational.

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