Open for business

KAPAA — Bailey Bernabe, student branch manager of Warrior Credit Union on the Kapaa High School campus, wants more students to become “financially lit.”

Warrior Credit Union, sponsored by Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, is open every Wednesday in Room I-101.

“Our theme this fall semester is ‘Let’s Get Financially Lit,’” said Bernabe. “It plays off our language — we are using social media as a tool to push our #FinLit hashtag and show students that being financially lit is so lit.”

With the support of parents and teachers, WCU is already seeing more students interested in opening accounts and conducting their transactions at WCU, Bernabe said.

As an incentive to promote the school-based credit union and financial literacy, KCFCU is offering $25 to all students who open a new account in the month of August.

KCFCU staff and Kapaa High School instructor Cheryl Morita provide guidance to Bernabe and the student staff. The WCU name and logo were designed by Kapaa students.

Since its opening last year, Bernabe said there has been strong activity at the in-school student bank branch.

“We serviced several hundred transactions and opened more than 50 new accounts since opening in the spring semester,” Bernabe told parents and teachers during the freshmen parents orientation on Aug. 1. “In addition to servicing high school students, WCU and KCFCU operate the Bank Bus Program at the Kapaa Elementary School which allows the elementary students to be escorted by the WCU staff over to the WCU to make their savings deposits.”

Bernabe said a few of the student leaders worked on developing and implementing the 2016-17 WCU Business and Marketing plan over the summer break.

“They are expecting continued growth and impact this school year,” Bernabe said. “The WCU mission statement reads, ‘Engaging our youth in financial management,’ and that is exactly what these student entrepreneurs intend to do.”

The student credit union is a collective effort to improve financial literacy on Kauai.

“Financial literacy is especially attainable when acquired at an early age,” said Monica Belz, vice president of marketing at KCFCU. “We aim to equip our young people with the knowledge and hands-on practice before they leap into the financial real world. Projects such as in-school student branches, coupled with teaching Junior Achievement curriculum in the classroom, offer students a meaningful learning dynamic where they can immediately apply their new financial literacy knowledge.”

KCFCU plans to open a Kauai High School Raider Credit Union in September, said Terri Kaniho, KCFCU marketing specialist.

KCFCU also has financial literacy programs in several other schools, including Eleele and Kilauea elementary schools.

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