Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union will unveil the greater Charleston area’s first two student-run high school branches next week at the official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies at both schools. The branches, located inside Goose Creek and Summerville High schools, are staffed by students participating in business track or career academy programs.

“Heritage Trust is excited to be pioneering this initiative in the Lowcountry. As a member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperative, we believe in the importance of financial education and advocacy, commented Jim McDaniel, Heritage Trust President & CEO. The new student-run branches will help students understand the importance of saving and provide the opportunity, tools and skill sets to be financially successful.”

Heritage Trust not only worked with both schools to create locations that could be converted into branches, but also invested in the equipment, security and build to get the branches operational.

Goose Creek High School Branch

Goose Creek High School Branch

“The students and faculty are very excited about working with the student-run credit union. It will be extremely convenient for both students and teachers to bank with HTFCU,” stated Goose Creek High School Principal, Jimmy Huskey. The largest investment was in the success of the students. Heritage Trust worked with teachers from both schools to onboard students into the program. Students had to apply for the Summer paid-internship positions and go through extensive interviews for selection – the same as applying for a job. They completed new hire packets and went through orientation. All supported by teachers, parents and HTFCU staff coaching them through the process.

HTFCU’s Training & Employee Development department created a customized curriculum for the students and conducted a two-week in classroom training for both schools to help them prepare for their new roles. In addition, students worked side-by-side with branch managers and HTFCU branch coaches at their Goose Creek and Summerville locations to apply their skills and interact with members. Students were compensated by HTFCU for their time and commitment over the Summer.

From accounting skills, to customer service, to promotion of the branches, students will be involved in all phases of a true financial institution experience. Teachers were also trained as part of the process and will manage the program and students at the schools as well as oversee the branches when they are open during lunch periods. The branches will allow students, faculty and staff to conveniently open a new membership, cash checks and make deposits, withdrawals and loan payments. The concept of the student-run branch is structured as a classroom setting – students working in the branch will receive a course credit as part of their participation in this program.

“There are no words to truly express how excited I am about our new in-school credit union. These students have been through some very rigorous training to prepare them to work here, commented Goose Creek High School teacher Michelle Sharp. I applaud Heritage Trust, Berkeley County School District, and Goose Creek High School for taking on this project; this is such a great opportunity for everyone involved. I have a great group of kids that are ecstatic to be a part of this, and we can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us.”

Heritage Trust is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and has been a constant contributor to education including involvement in Communities in Schools, YES Carolina, Business & Finance Academies and the GEARUp program. The organization wants to have helped these students learn skills to enhance their futures and for those remaining in the area, HTFCU hopes to have created a future candidate pool as positions become available at their company – truly filling the talent gap with local hires.

We’re proud to have them in the Local family as a Catalyst Member!

Jordan Amaker
Director of Marketing & Communications