November 28, 2014

Local bank teams up with Panthers

Courtesy Photo
The new Panther Branch was opened on Oct. 26. From left, Divida Yealey, Abigail Broughton, Lacy Grzelak, Lauren Donlow, Morgan Goodman, and Cassidy Kraatz sit inside the new Panther Branch at Standish Elementary.
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STANDISH — There is a new bank in Standish, but it is not located where you might think a bank would be.

The North Central Area Credit Union recently opened its Panther Branch inside of Standish Elementary School on Oct. 26, and Standish branch manager Lisa Haas said that the branch was started to help educate students about the importance of saving money.

“(This branch) is about teaching the students about the responsibility of saving money,” she said. “At these kids’ age, it’s important to save money.”

Haas said that the Panther Branch currently has 285 students who have started an account since October.

“Students from (kindergarten to fifth grade) can start an account and it only costs 25 cents,” she said. “These are actual accounts, and these students can keep them all the way through high school and beyond.”

Haas said that the Panther Branch is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 8:45 a.m.

“Students come down and deposit their money before class,” she said. “Some of the younger students come down with their teachers.”

Haas said students in the fifth grade handle the money with supervision. The money is then transferred over to North Central Area Credit Union.

Michael Dodge, Standish-Sterling Area Schools superintendent said adding the Panther Branch to the elementary school was a “no-brainer.”

“This program is good for the school,” he said. “It teaches students responsibility, and it’s good for their math skills.”

Dodge said the district was happy to add the branch and connect with a local business.

“We like to have a strong connection in the community,” he said.

The Panther Branch is not the first school branch that North Central Area Credit Union has. Last year the bank started the Eagle Branch at Arenac Eastern.

Haas said students are always involved in some project.

“They promote the branch inside the school and out in the public,” she said. “They see about 80 to 90 transactions every time the bank is open.”

Haas said she hopes that students will learn to save money for things they want, adding that saving is important in this economy.

“These kids know that if they want to get a game, they will have to save for it,” she said. “The kids just love it.”

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